17.11.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

World Humanities Forum to promote universal human values in the age of globalization

The World Humanities Forum will bring together academics, artists, and poets to examine ways to mobilize the humanities and social sciences at the service of humanist values in the age of globalization in Busan (Republic of Korea), from 24 to 26 November.

The Forum is organized by UNESCO, the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Busan Metropolitan City, in co-operation with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and the National Research Foundation of Korea.

Under the main theme of “Universalism in a Multicultural World”, the Forum will examine key challenges and questions facing us from the perspective of the social sciences and the humanities. It will also examine the status of these sciences in the contemporary context and seek to promote recognition of their important potential in addressing major issues.

Sessions will focus, notably, on cultural relativism and universalism, identity in the age of globalization, the danger of conflicts among civilizations, global ethics and dialogue of cultures. The choice of themes reflects the high expectations of the humanities to help preserve important values in a changing world.

Since she came into office in 2009 as Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova has been calling for the development of a “new humanism,” arguing that this was particularly needed in “times of increasing globalization, of greater connectivity and also of rising uncertainty, with new economic, financial and social challenges.”

UNESCO and the international community are expected to provide answers to “questions about how to prevent the fragmentation of humanity and how to build real foundations for development and peace,” argues the Director-General and the Forum is expected to help answer these questions.

The event will be opened by Ju-ho Lee, Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Korea; Yun-hwan Ko, Vice-Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City; Pilar Alvarez-Laso, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences; Se-Jung Oh, President of the National Research Foundation; and Young-Sik Park, President of the World Humanities Forum Organizing Committee.

Keynote speakers will include Fred R. Dallmayr, Professor Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame (USA); French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio (winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature); and Uchang Kim, Professor of the Ewha Womans University (Republic of Korea).

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