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World Humanities Conference: Challenges and Responsibilities for a Planet in Transition (Liège, Belgium, 6 - 12 August)


Close to 1,800 participants from all over the world will seek to redefine the foundations, role and responsibilities of the humanities in contemporary society at the World Humanities Conference, which will take place in the city of Liège, Belgium, from 6 to 12 August.

The World Conference is organized by UNESCO, The International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences, and the World Humanities Conference–Liège 2017–Foundation.

How can we face the challenges of climate change unless we understand its history? How can we end identity-based conflicts without studying collective narratives? How can we understand the world without examining cultural forces at play? These are some of the issues that researchers, academics, policy makers, artists, and representatives of both intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations will set out to tackle during the World Conference.

Discussions will take place in six plenary sessions dedicated to humanity and the environment, cultural identities and cultural diversity, cultural heritage, borders and migration, history, memory and politics, and the humanities in a changing world.

Notable speakers will include Ivorian author Tanella Boni, French language Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne from Columbia University (USA), Belgian writer and politician Hervé Hasquin, Vice-President of the Science Council of Japan Kumie Inose, and Paul Shrivastava, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of the Sustainability Institute, Pennsylvania State University (USA).

Organized in the framework of UNESCO’s intergovernmental scientific programme on the management of social transformation (MOST), the World Conference will set out to determine ways for the social sciences to nurture reflection, guide action and public policies, and regain the place in public debate that they lost over recent decades to the so-called “hard sciences”.

The humanities have an essential role to play to help us face the major challenges the world is facing today and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Through the study of history, critical thinking, and nuanced analysis, the humanities can contribute to the development of sustainable inclusive societies.


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