World Social Science Forum "Transforming Global Relations for a Just World"

When :

from Sunday 13 September, 2015
to Thursday 17 September, 2015

Type of event :

Event under UNESCO Patronage

Where :

Durban International Conference Center, Durban, South Africa

Contact :

Cecilie Golden,

The 2015 World Social Science Forum will focus on the issues of inequality and justice as core concerns around which discussions about global relations must be structured. The WSSF is organized by the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa), along with a consortium of academic and research institutions, African think-tanks and related science policy organizations. The Director-General of UNESCO has granted UNESCO’s patronage to the Forum.

UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, Ms Nada Al-Nashif, will represent the Director-General of UNESCO in the opening session of the Forum.
UNESCO, under its Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme is organising the following events:

13 September - 16h-17h30

Panel “Achieving gender equality: mobilizing social science and human rights”.

The panel will focus on the challenges that remain and the solutions that we can provide in order to reach gender equality through rights based approaches and provide the scientific data needed.

Chair: Françoise Caillods, ISSC Senior Advisor on the World Social Science Report, the International Social Science Council

Speakers: Mr. Pierre Sané, Founder and President of the Imagine Africa Institute, a think tank dedicated to the strengthening of research-policy linkages in Africa and to improve the quality of public policies, Patron of the WSSF, former Secretary-General, Amnesty International,former Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO former Regional Director (West and Central Africa) of the International Development Research Center in Canada.
Prof. Roseanne Diab, Executive Officer, Academy of Science of South Africa and Emeritus Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal
John Crowley, Chief, Research, Policy and Foresight, UNESCO

14 September - 12h30-15h30

Plenary Panel on "Contributing to a just world within the Post 2015 agenda: Which role for social Science?".

Ministers from various regions and high-level speakers will discuss what are the challenges and policy-responses to achieve a more just world, including providing national and/or regional experiences. Among the key issues in the draft Post 2015 agenda are the focus on ending poverty and reducing inequalities.


Chair: Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO
Commentator: H.E. Ambassador Dr. Zola Skweyiya, former President of the Intergovernmental Council of the MOST Programme and member of the Executive Committee of ANC (former Minister of Social Development, South Africa and High Commissioner of South Africa to the UK)


Keynote speaker H.E. Dr. Belio Kipsang, Principal Secretary, representing H.E. Professor Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary Education, Science and Technology, Government of Kenya, and President of the 1st Forum of Ministers of Social Development for East Africa.

Other Ministers or high-level representatives to respond to this and give examples from their national and regional perspectives:

H.E Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Social Development, Government of South Africa
H.E. Dr. Paul Oquist Kelley, Minister,-Private Secretary of the Citizen’s Power for National Policies for the Presidency of the Republic, Government of Nicaragua
H.E. Sheik Mohammed bin Said bin Saif al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development, Sultanate of Oman
H.E. Dr. Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Government of Malaysia.
H.E. Betty Tola, Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion, Government of Ecuador (President of the X Forum of Ministers of Social Development for Latin America) and Vice-President in the MOST IGC.
Minister Pablo Prosperi. Chief of Cabinet at the Under-Secretariat for International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representing H.E. Alicia Kirchner, Minister of Social Development of Argentina, and the President of the MOST IGC

The Ministerial session will be followed by a Research session with representatives from the MOST Programme’s research partners; they will provide research findings which could be relevant to social-policies and in the follow-up to Post-2015 agenda as a way of proposed means of co-operation.

Chair: Dr. Wiseman Magasela, Deputy Director General, Research and Policy Development at the National Department of Social Development, University of South Africa.

Opening remarks: Mr. Michael Woolcock, Member of the MOST Programme’s Scientific Advisory Committee, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Lead Social Development Specialist with the World Bank’s Development Research Group in Washington DC.

Followed by:

Dr. Ebrima Sall, Executive-Secretary, CODESRIA
Dr. Pablo Gentili, Executive-Secretary, CLACSO
Dr. Seteney Shami, Director-General, the Arab Council for Social Science
Mr. Mathieu Denis, Deputy Director, Science, International Social Science Council

15 September - 11h-12h30

Panel “The Sir Arthur Lewis Centennial Panel”, will commemorate the work of the economist Sir Arthur Lewis. The panel will address how his explanation of the relationship between trade and development is still relevant to understand contemporary challenges.

Chair: Dr. Pedro Manuel Monreal Gonzales, UNESCO


Dr. Mark Figueroa.
“Arthur Lewis’s Life and Work: Enduring Lessons for Global Transformation”

Dr Godfrey St Bernard
“Social Policy and Its Implications for Social Justice in Small States: The Role of Global Population Dynamics”

Ambassador Jane Soomer, Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to CARICOM and the OECS
"The Relevance of Arthur Lewis to the Contemporary Challenges facing Small Island Developing States"


This is the third World Social Science Forum which will gather together more than 1,000 social scientists, policy-makers and other stakeholders to address issues and social science findings contributing to a just world.