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Laboratory of ideas for the world to come

Discover UNESCO Forum


The life of ideas is based on concepts and notions that change the course of history. It relies on men and women from around the world who brought their contribution and give birth to new insights. It relies as well on networks and organizations that frame intellectual cooperation.

UNESCO has always hosted major intellectual debates and welcomed the greatest voices of international thought. This commitment to serving long-term thinking, beyond the contingencies of the moment, is a way to strengthen the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity, where everyone should be able to express themselves freely. 

Thanks to this forum, UNESCO promotes exchanges and circles of thoughts within the international community and relies on the work of personalities and institutions involved in the educational, scientific and cultural life.


This initiative highlights UNESCO as a laboratory of ideas with the theme: "UNESCO Forum: Imagining the World to come".



Discover this network, and join us.


UNESCO Forum kicks off with a series of leading women experts and thinkers

Take time to think

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has shaken societies ; it has also challenged things that looked obvious. While the pandemic is still ongoing, and no one knows how it might end, it is all the more urgent to take time to think. For the pandemic is not so much an unprecedented object to reflect on – rather an occasion to reaffirm the need to think the world that it has revealed. That’s what UNESCO, as a laboratory of ideas, is contributing to.

UNESCO is a place where thinking converges – whether published and recognized, or still in progress. And this also informs UNESCO's strategic reflection – to make sure that tomorrow’s programmes will be at the level of the demands of the emerging world.

This laboratory of ideas is neither a closed circle, nor an ivory tower. On the contrary ! It is about contributing to collective intelligence in a changing world. Space will be made for new ideas and new voices. UNESCO will open up to activities it had not imagined, and to ideas it had not thought of. All contributions, however diverse, are welcome!

Women's voices

Inspiring voices to imagine the world to come

Meet Fadia Kiwan

Professor of Political Science
Director General of the Arab Women Organization
Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO MOST Programme

Meet Katharine Hayhoe

Climate Scientist
Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University
Professor of Political Science
UN Champion of the Earth

Meet N'Dri Assie-Lumumba

Professor at the Africana Centre for Studies and Research, Cornell University
Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO-MOST Programme

Meet Márcia Barbosa

Director of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences
2013 L'Oréal-UNESCO Award Laureate

Meet Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

Professor of International Affairs
Director of the Oslo University Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health

Meet Sara Purca

Researcher at the Peruvian Sea Institute
Winner of the L’Oréal-UNESCO
Peru National Prize “Por las Mujeres en la Ciencia” 2017

Meet Maja Gerovska Mitev

Professor of Social Policy at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje, North Macedonia
Vice-president of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO MOST programme

Meet Ada Hegerberg

International footballer
Striker for Olympique Lyonnais

Meet Divya Dwivedi

Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi
Co-editor of the last issue of the Women Philosophers’ Journal

Meet Leah Zaidi

Founder of Multiverse Design
Member of UNESCO-Futures Literacy network

Meet Dorothea Baur

Founder of Baur Consulting
Consultant specializing in business ethics and AI ethics

Meet Michelle Mycoo

Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the West Indies Steering Committee
Member of Future Earth Coasts and of the UN-Habitat Partnership Initiative

Meet Maria Axente

Artificial intelligence specialist at PwC
Facilitator of the Women in Tech network

Meet Ouided Bouchamaoui

Winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize with the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet
Former President of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts

Meet Edwige Chirouter

UNESCO Chair on the Practice of Philosophy with Children at the University of Nantes

Meet Nadia Nadim

International footballer
UNESCO Champion for Girls’ and Women’s Education

Meet Snežana Smederevac

Full Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad

Meet Aurélie Jean

Ph.D. Computational Scientist and Entrepreneur

Meet Masresha Beniam

Managing Director at OmniTech

Meet Yuriko Koike

Governor of Tokyo


As with every major test that humanity faces, this crisis can either bring out our best selves or our worst instincts. The world that emerges in the future will largely depend on the decisions we make today.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

Sally Talent, Director of Queens Museum: Reimagining museums for the future

With new constraints on welcoming visitors, the Queens Museum in New York City – like many other institutions around the world – is reflecting on how best to redefine our ties to art and culture. The museum’s team is working on an inclusive model that places artists, educators and residents at the heart of its activities, as it seeks to reinvent itself.

Sally Tallant
President and Executive Director, Queens Museum

Read more

Pandemics: Humans are the culprits

It’s easy to blame a bat, but is our wanton destruction of nature and the traditional habitats of species responsible for the pandemic gripping the world right now? Experts concur that the loss of biodiversity, mainly because of humans, is directly connected  to the spread of deadly diseases like COVID-19. The only way to prevent these new diseases from ravaging us is to preserve intact our ecosystems and biodiversity, they caution.

John Vidal

Journalist, author, and former environment editor of  The Guardian newspaper

Read more

UNESCO Courier : Many Voices, One World

For almost 70 years, the UNESCO Courier has served as a platform for international debates on issues that concern the entire planet. Today, more than ever, experts, public figures, artists and journalists from around the world come together to discuss topical issues.

Read our featured articles

Resiliart: Artists and Creativity beyond Crisis

We need a concerted and global effort to support artists and ensure access to culture for all. The health crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus has plunged the global economy into a recession. While billions of people around the world turn to culture as a source of comfort and connection, the impact of COVID-19 has not spared the culture sector. More than 80% of UNESCO World Heritage properties have closed down. Cultural institutions are losing millions in revenue each day. Artists across the world are struggling to make ends meet.

Join the upcoming debate

Music and fight against COVID-19 at the heart of Africa Day celebration

Music and the fight against COVID-19 will be the focus of UNESCO’s celebration of Africa Day, 25 May, organized in partnership with the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) and the Most Beautiful Dream Academy for Youth organization. 

More about the event

The world needs solidarity.

UNESCO Forum - laboratory of ideas is a contribution to the UN75 global discussion, to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN and UNESCO.

Join #UN75

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