Tag Archives: Ban Ki-moon

Philosophy and science in Tokyo, Japan from Dec. 1-2, 2022

I have not seen a more timely and à propos overview for a meeting/conference/congress that this one for Tokyo Forum 2022 (hosted by the University of Tokyo and South Korea’s Chey Institute for Advanced Studies),

Dialogue between Philosophy and Science: In a World Facing War, Pandemic, and Climate Change

In the face of war, a pandemic, and climate change, we cannot repeat the history of the last century, in which our ancestors headed down the road to division, global conflict, and environmental destruction.

How can we live more fully and how do we find a new common understanding about what our society should be? Tokyo Forum 2022 will tackle these questions through a series of in-depth dialogues between philosophy and science. The dialogues will weave together the latest findings and deep contemplation, and explore paths that could lead us to viable answers and solutions.

Philosophy of the 21st century must contribute to the construction of a new universality based on locality and diversity. It should be a universality that is open to co-existing with other non-human elements, such as ecosystems and nature, while severely criticizing the understanding of history that unreflectively identifies anthropocentrism with universality.

Science in the 21st century also needs to dispense with its overarching aura of supremacy and lack of self-criticism. There is a need for scientists to make efforts to demarcate their own limits. This also means reexamining what ethics means for science.

Tokyo Forum 2022 will offer multifaceted dialogues between philosophers, scientists, and scholars from various fields of study on the state and humanity in the 21st century, with a view to imagining and proposing a vision of the society we need.

Here are some details about the hybrid event from a November 4, 2022 University of Tokyo press release on EurekAlert,

The University of Tokyo and South Korea’s Chey Institute for Advanced Studies will host Tokyo Forum 2022 from Dec. 1-2, 2022. Under this year’s theme “Dialogue between Philosophy and Science,” the annual symposium will bring together philosophers, scientists and scholars in various fields from around the world for multifaceted dialogues on humanity and the state in the 21st century, while envisioning the society we need.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be held both on site at Yasuda Auditorium of the University of Tokyo and online via livestream. [emphases mine]

Keynote speakers lined up for the first day of the two-day symposium are former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos and Mariko Hasegawa, president of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan.

Other featured speakers on the event’s opening day include renowned modern thinker and author Professor Markus Gabriel of the University of Bonn, and physicist Hirosi Ooguri, director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo and professor at the California Institute of Technology, who are scheduled to participate in the high-level discussion on the dialogue between philosophy and science.

Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs will take part in a panel discussion, also on Day 1, on tackling global environmental issues with stewardship of the global commons — the stable and resilient Earth system that sustains our lives — as a global common value.

The four panel discussions slated for Day 2 will cover the role of world philosophy in addressing the problems of a globalized world; transformative change for a sustainable future by understanding the diverse values of nature and its contributions to people; the current and future impacts of autonomous robots on society; and finding collective solutions and universal values to pursue equitable and sustainable futures for humanity by looking at interconnections among various fields of inquiry.

Opening remarks will be delivered by University of Tokyo President Teruo Fujii and South Korea’s SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, on Day 1. Fujii and Chey Institute President Park In-kook will make closing remarks following the wrap-up session on the second and final day.

Tokyo Forum with its overarching theme “Shaping the Future” is held annually since 2019 to stimulate discussions on finding the best ideas for shaping the world and humanity in the face of complex situations where the conventional wisdom can no longer provide answers.

For more information about the program and speakers of Tokyo Forum 2022, visit the event website and social media accounts:

Website: https://www.tokyoforum.tc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/index.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UTokyo_forum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UTokyo.tokyo.forum/

To register, fill out the registration form on the Tokyo Forum 2022 website (registration is free but required [emphasis mine] to attend the event): https://www.tokyo-forum-form.com/apply/audiences/en

I’m not sure how they are handling languages. I’m guessing that people are speaking in the language they choose and translations (subtitles or dubbing) are available. For anyone who may have difficulty attending due to timezone issues, there are archives for previous Tokyo Forums. Presumably 2022 will be added at some point in the future.

First ever UN (United Nations) Scientific Advisory Board launches with 26 members

Thanks to David Bruggeman and his Oct. 23, 2013 posting (on the Pasco Phronesis blog where he tracks science policy issues in the US and other countries/jurisdictions as he is able) for information about the UN (United Nations) and its new scientific advisory board (Note: Links have been removed),

Ending the beginning of a process that has been at least a year in the making, the United Nation named the first members of the Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board (H/T ScienceInsider).

Here’s more from the Oct. 18, 2013 UN press release,

Twenty-six eminent scientists, representing natural, social and human sciences and engineering, have been appointed to a Scientific Advisory Board, announced by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. The new Board will provide advice on science, technology and innovation (STI) for sustainable development to the UN Secretary-General and to Executive Heads of UN organizations. UNESCO will host the Secretariat for the Board.

The members of the Scientific Advisory Board are:

·         Tanya Abrahamse (South Africa), CEO, South African National Biodiversity Institute;

·         Susan Avery (United States of America), President and Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution;

·         Hilary McDonald Beckles (Barbados), Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies;

·         Joji Cariño (Philippines), Director, Forest Peoples Programme;

·         Rosie Cooney (Australia), Visiting Fellow, University of Sciences, Sydney;

·         Abdallah Daar (Oman), Professor of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada;

·         Gebisa Ejeta (Ethiopia), Professor of Agronomy, Purdue University, United States;

·         Vladimir Fortov (Russian Federation), President of the Russian Academy of Sciences;

·         Fabiola Gianotti (Italy), Research physicist and former Coordinator of ATLAS Experiment, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland;

·         Ke Gong (China), President of Nankai University;

·         Jörg Hinrich Hacker (Germany), President, German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina;

·         Maria Ivanova (Bulgaria), Professor of Global Governance, University of Massachusetts, United States;

·         Eugenia Kalnay (Argentina), Professor of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, University of Maryland, Unites States;

·         Eva Kondorosi (Hungary), Research Professor, Biological Research Centre, Academy of Sciences of Hungary;

·         Reiko Kuroda (Japan), Professor, Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science;

·         Dong-Pil Min (Republic of Korea), Emeritus Professor, Seoul National University;

·         Carlos Nobre (Brazil), Senior Climate Scientist, National Secretary for R&D Policies;

·         Rajendra Kumar Pachauri (India), Director-General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI); Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Nobel Laureate for Peace;

·         Shankar Sastry (United States of America), Dean, College of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley;

·         Hayat Sindi (Saudi Arabia), Founder and CEO, Institute of Imagination and Ingenuity;

·         Wole Soboyejo (Nigeria), President, African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Garki;

·         Laurence Tubiana (France), Director, Institute of Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Paris;

·         Judi Wakhungu (Kenya), Professor of Energy Resources Management, First Cabinet Secretary, Ministry for Environment, Water and Natural Resources;

·         Ada Yonath (Israel), Director, Helen and  Milton A. Kimmelman Centre for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly, Weizmann Institute of Sciences; Nobel Laureate in Chemistry;

·         Abdul Hamid Zakri (Malaysia), Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia; Chair, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES);

·         Ahmed Zewail (Egypt), Director, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, United States; Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

The countries listed beside the individual member’s names appears to be their country of origin, e.g., Abdallah Daar (Oman), Professor of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada, which may or may not be where they are currently located. In any event, they seem to have representation from every continent in one way or another. One other observation, it seems that the gender split is either 50/50 or tilted toward participation from women. (I’m not familiar enough with some of the language groups to be able to identify male as opposed to female first names, not to mention names that are androgynous.)

Moving on, I found these passages of the UN’s news release of particular interest,

“The creation of the Scientific Advisory Board follows on a wide-ranging consultation work entrusted to UNESCO by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.  “It brings together scientists of international stature, and will serve as a global reference point to improve links between science and public policies.”

The Board is the first such body set up by the UN Secretary-General to influence and shape action by the international community to advance sustainable development and eradicate poverty. The initiative derives from the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future worth choosing (January, 2012). This report recommended the launch of a “major global scientific initiative to strengthen the interface between policy and science. This should include the preparation of regular assessments and digests of the science around such concepts as “planetary boundaries”, “tipping points” and “environmental thresholds” in the context of sustainable development”.

The fields covered by the Board range from the basic sciences, through engineering and technology, social sciences and humanities, ethics, health, economic, behavioral, and agricultural sciences, in addition to the environmental sciences.[emphasis mine]

Board members will act in their personal capacity and will provide advice on a strictly independent basis. They will serve pro bono for two years, with the possibility of renewal for one further two-year term, upon the decision of the Secretary-General. The first session of the Board will be held at the beginning of 2014.

I applaud the range of fields they’ve tried to include in the advisory board. As for serving pro bomo for two years, that’s very good of the individual appointees. Still, It’s hard to know how much time will be required and I doubt anyone is going to be out-of-pocket, as presumably there will be trips and other perks courtesy of the UN or home institutions or someone’s national budget. There’s also the prestige associated with being appointed by the UN to this advisory council (good for the CV), not to mention the networking possibilities that could open up.

Despite pointing out that this is not entirely selfless service, I wish the members of UN’s Scientific Advisory Board well in their efforts.