World Philosophy Day, 20 November 2008

Annual celebration of philosophy initiated by UNESCO in 2005, the 2008 edition of World Philosophy Day took place in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Italy was the host country of the international celebration, held in Palermo, on 20 and 21 November. Numerous other initiatives took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and in over 80 countries around the world.

World Philosophy Day takes increasingly deeper roots both in the academic and public spheres. With the constant objective of making philosophy accessible to all, this key international philosophy event inaugurates more and more spaces for reflection, debate and fruitful exchange.

In 2008, Italy was the host of the Day’s international celebration. It took place in Palermo on 20 and 21 November 2008, in the presence of UNESCO’s Director-General and high-level personalities from the host country. Philosophers, students, journalists, academics, diplomats and other philosophy enthusiasts, discussed “Power and Rights”. This theme was chosen to enrich the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Numerous thematic round tables on various topics were organized, assembling philosophers from all regions of the world.

At UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, three activities were organized. The 8th colloquium on "New Philosophical Practices" was held on 19 and 20 November. A symposium entitled “Psychoanalysis, Rights, Knowledge” was organized on 20 and 21 November. The symposium “Françoise Dolto, Latest Thinking, 1908-2008” took place from 12 to 14 December 2008 to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Françoise Dolto, famous psychologist and paediatrician.

In UNESCO’s Member States, more than 80 this year, philosophy students, teachers, professors, researchers were able to take part in a variety of events organized by different partners, including National Commissions, UNESCO Field Offices, universities, associations, research centres, specialized NGOs, institutes, and others. The public in general was closely associated.

The 7th edition of World Philosophy Day has contributed to making philosophy even more accessible to the greatest number. Thus, it continues to foster independent and critical thought.

  • International Celebration in Palermo, Italy, 20-21 November 2008
  • 8th Colloquium on the New Philosophical Practices, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 19-20 November 2008
  • Colloquium on "Human rights, identities and cultural diversity", UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 20 November 2008
  • Symposium “Psychoanalysis, Rights, Knowledge”, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 20-21 November 2008
  • Days of the Centenary of the Birth of Françoise Dolto: “Françoise Dolto, Latest Thinking, 1908-2008”, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 12-14 December 2008
  • Activities Around the World


For more information regarding World Philosophy Day, contact the Human Security, Democracy and Philosophy Section of UNESCO.
E-mail: philosophy&


Back to top