European Humanities Conference, 5-7 May in Lisbon, hosted by Portugal and UNESCO

UNESCO and Portugal are organizing the European Humanities Conference from 5 to 7 May in Lisbon, which will focus on the need to take better account of the humanities in public policymaking.

This need is even more important at a time when the COVID-19 crisis has accentuated pre-existing inequalities throughout the world, particularly in terms of income, opportunities, socio-economic dignity, political freedom, access to knowledge and gender equality. The conference aims to put the humanities back at the heart of scientific strategies and public policies to address contemporary challenges such as, among others, climate and environmental change, migration, epidemics, and gender issues.

Renowned academics invited to speak include Antonio Damasio, neuroscience philosopher, Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California; Rosi Braidotti, feminist philosopher, Professor at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands; Jane Ohlmeyer, Professor of Contemporary History at Trinity College Dublin, Chair of the Irish Research Council; James Pawelski, Director of Education at the Center for Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

The conference, which is a follow-up to the 2017 World Humanities Conference in Liege, Belgium, coincides with the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union. The organizers intend to create a fruitful dialogue with EU Member States to ensure that the work of researchers in the humanities and social sciences, as well as in the natural sciences and even in medicine and engineering, is taken into account in the development of national and EU strategies. It will also be an opportunity to exchange views on educational and scientific policies, and on the processes of dissemination of knowledge.

As a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO’s ambition is to respond to the major contemporary questions by using all the tools available to researchers.

The human and social sciences must be placed at the heart of scientific strategies and public policies to meet contemporary challenges and better rebuild our post-COVID societies. They are at the heart of today’s problems and, in close collaboration with other disciplines, can provide answers and innovative solutions, particularly in the long term.

Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Social and Human Sciences

The conference is co-organized by the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (ICPHS), the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme.

Participants are expected to adopt the Lisbon Declaration whose main objective will be to invite States and institutions to commit themselves to takeconcrete meausers to support the autonomy of these disciplines and to seek appropriate modalities, at the European level and beyond, to strengthen the design of policy responses to major contemporary challenges.

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