The International Council
for Philosophy and Human Sciences

World Humanities Conference: a success today, a commitment for tomorrow

The World Humanities Conference completes its work in Liège on 11 August 2017: An occasion for the local organisers to draw up a positive first assessment of this world premiere that will resonate for a long time to come.

Successful organisation and positive impacts

The Liège-based organisers (Province, City and University of Liège) are delighted by the trust shown by UNESCO and the CIPSH and underline the attested success of this event that constituted a world premiere. Barely five weeks after the arrival of two stages of the Tour de France, this once again demonstrates the capabilities for hosting and organising events of international calibre in Liège province. More than a thousand participants – 800 conference attendees and 200 speakers from 60 different countries – thus moved into the city centre of Liège for a whole week. We also recall that more than 50 media outlets from throughout the world registered to attend, including almost twenty Chinese journalists. So many ambassadors who will return to the four corners of the world, intellectually satisfied by their work but also personally delighted by their stay in the Ardent City. This success is quantifiable, first and foremost as concerns the work, which was extensive and passionate. One of the objectives set by UN  CO consists of promoting conferences and debates as far and wide as possible. With this in mind, a major multi-media apparatus was set up by the local organisers, the Province, the City and the University of Liège, who came together to form a Foundation established for the occasion. This apparatus allowed audience members who were unable to travel to attend as well, in staggered time slots from right across the planet, in order to follow this work of primordial interest. Veritable live broadcasts, racking up more than 5 hours of interviews, were made on Facebook and can still be accessed. After just one week, these videos have surpassed 200,000 views, and news from the WHC has appeared on the pages of 750,000 people throughout the world! Moreover, nine conferences and plenary sessions, that is to say almost 11 hours of video, can already been watched in full on the YouTube channel of Province de Liège, pending the recording and broadcasting of the rest of the programme. Transcripts of the main talks will als  be available on the site Next, it is not inappropriate to note that Liège hotels benefited from a fairly consistent occupancy rate throughout the Conference week. More than 500 overnight stays were registered directly by the Tourism Federation of the Province of Liège, not counting the numerous conference attendees who booked independently. At any event, the hotels Communiqué de presse – Conférence Mondiale des Humanités – 11 aout 2017 - p. 2/2 Comtes de Méan, Husa de la Couronne, Ibis Opéra and Penta seem to have seen an impressive rise in their occupancy rates on account of the World Humanities Conference. Numbers of diners on restaurant terraces and in typically Liégeois brasseries, and patrons in shops or at the cultural sites, also appear to have been boosted this week.

Laboratory and megaphone: Liège Province supports the Humanities

Furthermore, to conclude the work, UNESCO presented a “new agenda for the Humanities in the 21st century”. This founding text will be sent to the pol tical decision-makers of the UNESCO member states. In this context, Liège Province has committed to being a “laboratory”, an incubator and disseminator of solutions in order to overcome the crisis that society currently faces. The task is to generate awareness with regard to the cultural and environmental problems, but also to supply the keys in order to encourage open-mindedness and openness towards the Other. Paul-Emile Mottard, Deputy President of Province de Liège and Honorary Chairman of the World Humanities Conference, explains these objectives: “Our institution will work to echo the reflections that were pursued at this WHC, in particular through its Education network, which will apply the advice and recommendations formulated by researchers from throughout the world who took part in this week of reflection. Cultural mediation, which is the central occupation of the Province's Culture Department in particular (in awareness of the added value that it brings to a society aspiring to openness towards othe s), will benefit from the lessons of the WHC in order to find new impetus. Thanks to its prestigious University, its colleges and high-quality research centres, Liège Province could be  considered the global capital of the Humanities. Remember that more than 160 nationalities live together in Liège. ”  Finally, we announce that Tchantchès, an iconic character who symbolises a rebellious spirit  of solidarity, will receive the title of honorary citizen of the World Humanities Conference  during the Closing Ceremony at the Provincial Palace.

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August 11, 2017