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4th World Humanities Forum

When, local time: 
Thursday, 27 October 2016 - 9:00am to Saturday, 29 October 2016 - 6:00pm
Republic of Korea, Suwon
Type of Event: 
Meeting by Member States or Institutions
John Crowley, j.crowley@unesco.org

The World Humanities Forum was initiated by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea in 2011, in cooperation with UNESCO. It creates space for an international dialogue on how to enhance the profile and contribution of the Humanities in an age of rapid change. This year the Forum will take place at Ajou University in Suwon, from 27 to 29 October 2016. The theme will be “The Humanities of Hope.”

UNESCO has partnered with the International Council for Philosophy and Humanities (CIPSH) to launch the lead-up to the first World Humanities Conference (WHC), which will be held in Liège (Belgium) from 6 to 12 August 2017. UNESCO will convene a roundtable entitled “On the road to Liège” to conclude the 4th WHF. This event aims to foster a broad discussion regarding the preparation of the WHC, including the intellectual and institutional issues within the humanities that deserve to be addressed during the conference.

The Busan Declaration, adopted during the first World Humanities Forum (WHF) in 2011, reaffirmed “the invaluable contribution that the humanities can make towards establishing new human values in times of increasing globalization, greater independence and also rising uncertainty.”

The WHF is important in clarifying conceptual issues within important thematic fields – multiculturalism, reconciliation, technology and science, etc. – and considering them in the context of the institutional challenges that the humanities face, in dialogue with their representative and programming institutions.

The humanities are a well of unique resources that can help make sense of individual behavior and societal evolution. The specific knowledge of the humanities can have a catalyzing effect on framing and defining the social conditions of a sustainable society.

The theme of the 2016 edition of the World Humanities Forum, “the Humanities of Hope”, is both enigmatic and suggestive: it underlines the need to reintroduce humanistic introspection in a civilization in crisis where human culture is crushed by technology and neo-capitalism. The performance and output-based ideology currently at work in our economy, in the consumption-based society, and in environmental dynamics, is dehumanizing. By contrast, the humanities are the study and the experience of life itself: they can appear as the ground where the hope of a new paradigm for societies can blossom.