For one week in August 2017, Liège, in Belgium, became the “world capital of humanities”, to quote Paul-Émile Mottard, President of the Provincial College of Liège. The World Humanities Conference (WHC), which ran from 6 to 12 August, ended with the adoption of a new vision for the humanities for the 21st century. Participants agreed that, the humanities’ capacity to engage substantive long term reflection was indispensable to our societies in steering the environmental, technological, and cultural dynamics that are transforming them.
The outcome document of the WHC, which went through public consultation over several weeks in advance of the Conference, calls on UNESCO, through its Secretariat and Member States, and on its partners, to “ensure the strong presence of humanities within the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme, notably by promoting the establishment of a network of UNESCO Chairs in all regions of the world”; “to take into consideration the outcomes of the World Humanities Conference in particular in devising research and education policies”; and to “ensure that the outcome of the World Humanities Conference is taken into account by the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2017”.
More than 1,000 participants, from all continents and all disciplines of the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, came together in Liège for a rich one-week programme that dealt with such diverse themes as environment, migrations, history, memory, languages, cultural identities and digital technologies. The Conference included seven keynote addresses, six thematic plenary sessions and more than 100 parallel sessions.
Onsite participation was very strong. Equally so online thanks to the live interviews on the WHC Facebook page, which attracted more than 200,000 views. More than 750,000 people worldwide looked at the live segments on their Facebook news feed. The participants also enjoyed a rich artistic, cultural and musical programme, integrated into the substantive discussions.
The World Humanities Conference, chaired by H.E. Adama Samassékou, former Minister of Education of Mali, and jointly organized with the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH) is the outcome of a worldwide process preceded by the organization of preparatory meetings in all regions (Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Jamaica, Mali, Lebanon, Portugal and Korea).
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today urged the authorities to investigate the killings of journalists Rudy Alicaway and Leo Diaz in the Philippines’ island of Mindanao on 6 and 7 August respectively.
“I condemn the murder of Leo Diaz and Rudy Alicaway,” said the Director-General. “The impunity that meets the majority of crimes against journalists and media workers emboldens their perpetrators and undermines freedom of information and freedom of expression. I therefore call on the authorities to spare no effort in investigating these crimes and bringing their perpetrators to trial.”
Leo Diaz, a correspondent of Manila tabloid Balita (News) and a contributor to local newspaper Sapol News and Radio Mindanao-Cotabato, was fatally shot on Monday 7 August in President Quirino, a town in Sultan Kudarat province.
Rudy Alicaway, a volunteer presenter on DXPB 106.9 Radio, was shot in Molave, a town in Zamboanga del Sur province.
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists
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