World Philosophy Day 2012


UNESCO celebrates philosophy every year on the third Thursday in November.

In 2012, the World Philosophy Day will be held for the tenth time, with events being organized at the international, national and local levels. They will enable their participants to share a multitude of views and experiences, fully respecting cultural diversity, with regard to the main theme of the 2012 World Philosophy Day which is “Future Generations”.

At its Headquarters in Paris, UNESCO will be organizing two round tables on 15 November (on responsibilities towards future generations and on youth) and a series of side events on 14 and 15 November, devoted to innovative philosophical practices, including a demonstration of teaching philosophy for children. In addition, on 15 November, UNESCO will stage an event that pulls together all these themes: a group of schoolchildren from Greater Paris will install a “time capsule” containing messages they would like children of their age to read in 2062. The Day will conclude with a concert of the blues-based group Circular Time.

The main theme of the 2012 World Philosophy Day will be “Future Generations”. Global concern for sustainable development has given increased pertinence to the interests and moral standing of future generations.

These questions are profoundly philosophical. They concern communication between beings who cannot talk to one another; identities, as extended in time and space; the scope and power of the moral imagination; and of course the ethical issue of responsibility.

“Future generations” is a particularly relevant main theme for World Philosophy Day in 2012, as the world reflects on the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). WPD 2012 celebrates the 15th anniversary of the adoption by UNESCO of the Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future Generations, as well as the 300th anniversary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

In establishing World Philosophy Day in 2005, the General Conference highlighted the importance of this discipline, especially for young people, underlining that “philosophy is a discipline that encourages critical and independent thought and is capable of working towards a better understanding of the world and promoting tolerance and peace”.

The General Conference was convinced that “the institutionalization of Philosophy Day at UNESCO as world philosophy day would win recognition for and give strong impetus to philosophy and, in particular, to the teaching of philosophy in the world”.

For UNESCO, philosophy offers a cross-cutting reflection and analysis that should permeate all disciplines which aim to build a better understanding of our present world and develop adequate responses to challenges. Philosophers have a very important role in shedding light on contemporary challenges, especially when these relate to ethics and justice. We believe that critical thinking, foresight, and ethical judgment are invaluable ingredients for a healthy society. For this reason UNESCO strives to strengthen the philosophical perspective in all its programmes and fields of action.

UNESCO leads World Philosophy Day – but does not own it. It belongs to everyone, everywhere, who cares about philosophy.

On this Day of collective exercise in free, reasoned and informed thinking on the major challenges of our time, all of UNESCO’s partners (national governments, their public institutions and organizations, including National Commissions for UNESCO, relevant non-governmental organizations, associations, universities, institutes, schools, UNESCO/UNITWIN Chairs, Associated Schools and Clubs and so forth) are encouraged to organize various types of activities - philosophical dialogues, debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations around the general theme of the Day, with the participation of philosophers and scientists from all branches of natural and social sciences, educators, teachers, students, press journalists and other mass media representatives, and the general public.

A wide range of activities will also be organized around the world, to celebrate philosophy and to reflect on what is at stake in thinking seriously about future generations.

The authorization to use the UNESCO logo of the 2012 World Philosophy Day for the activities held at the local, national or regional levels is granted by the National Commission for UNESCO of the country of the organizers, while for the events held at the international level, the authorization to use the relevant logo is granted by UNESCO Headquarters in Paris upon request.


Type of Event Special Event
Start 15.11.2012 07:30 local time
End 15.11.2012 19:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Crowley, John
Organizer UNESCO
Country France
City Paris
Venue UNESCO Headquarters
Room Room I
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event
Estimated number of participants 1200
Official Website
Link 1 Provisional Programme
Link 2 Philosophy Day at UNESCO
Link 3 Philosophy in UNESCO
Link 4