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Newsletter 11
The quarterly SHS Newsletter provides information on the work of UNESCO in the field of social and human sciences.
Thought for action – a matter of place – December 2005 - February 2006 (English | Español | Français | Русский)
Newsletter 11 For several years now, UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector has adopted the slogan “Food for thought, thought for action”.

“Food for thought” is a concept easily grasped. From its very beginning and as laid down in its Constitution, UNESCO has sought to mobilize intellectuals, researchers and academics to debate issues of topical or future interest where the Organization’s values are at stake. Thought thus nurtured has a value of its own: it is an essential aspect of the intellectual life of the international community.

“Thought for action” is rather more complex. On the one hand the Sector’s action is mainly indirect. It involves a whole network of partnerships with public authorities, intergovernmental bodies, NGOs and universities, which precludes any assignment of thinking to one set place. On the other hand, not everyone is convinced that rigorous thought can be related to the demands of action.

And yet, if we take a closer look, it is precisely these two difficulties that show how it can be done. Action, because it fits into a complex network configuration, can be thought only within a space where the actors come together, with due respect for the diversity of their status, and which provides them with the requisite conditions for collective development of thought and action. As the demands of thought and of action do not come together unaided, they must be negotiated in a space that has precisely the same favorable properties.

Knowing what should be done does not make it easy. The challenge the Sector has taken up consists in creating just such a space where action can be thought. Such a space also needs a place. The innovative space is the International Forum on the Social Science – Policy Nexus. From 20 to 24 February 2006, the place is Argentina and Uruguay – Buenos Aires will host plenary sessions and a substantial part of the workshop programme; and Montevideo, Rosario and Córdoba will host thematically streamed workshops.

The topics for discussion at the Forum are those where ambitious action in a world undergoing great change questions thinking in general, and the social sciences in particular – populations and migration, urban policies and decentralization, regional integration, social policies, and global issues and dynamics. The diversity of the participants invited – policy makers, researchers, activists and journalists – shows a will to encourage connections of a new kind. And the new format, which is open to contributions the world over, through Internet, should ensure a genuinely inclusive space.

The Forum’s objective is to kick-start a new dynamic, a new process to be defined in a Declaration the draft of which is outlined in this Newsletter. The hope is that this innovative process will show that it is possible to change the world through progress in social science knowledge and implementation of that knowledge.

At a time when one year comes to an end and another begins, what better can we wish for one another than to work together through thought and action for peace in the world?

To everyone, my very best wishes for 2006.

Pierre Sané
Assistant Director-General
for Social and Human Sciences


p. 3 Bioethics and human rights – the new Universal Declaration
p. 4 IBC looks to the future in Japan
p. 5 UNESCO’s GEO puts ethics within reach
p. 5 Renewal of COMEST membership

Human Sciences
p. 6 "World Philosophy Day" proves a success
p. 7 International symposium on the East-West dialogue

Social Transformations
p. 8 MOST Programme: the new Intergovernmental Council
p. 9 Interview: Zola Skweyiya, Minister for Social Development of the Republic of South Africa, new President of the MOST IGC, also available in HTML format
p. 11 Dossier: International Forum on the Social Science - Policy Nexus (IFSP)
p. 16 Urban Policies and the Right to the City - an international research network coming soon
p. 17 Migration without borders - the right to mobility under debate

Special Section - 60 years of UNESCO
p. 18 What UNESCO for the future?
p. 19 Intersectoral anti-poverty programme
p. 19 SHS dates

Human Rights
p. 20 Child Soldiers in Liberia regain their dignity
p. 21 News on the Coalition of Cities Against Racism
p. 22 AIDS - Stop discrimination!

p. 23 Just published
p. 24 News | Calendar

Click here to download the SHS Newsletter in PDF format.
Author(s) UNESCO - Sector for Social and Human Sciences
Periodical Name Newsletter
Publication date 2005-12
Publisher UNESCO
Publication Location Paris
Number of pages 24 p.

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