Riyadh, The program has been announced today for the first philosophy conference to take place in Saudi Arabia. Hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission, and to be held at the King Fahad National Library in Riyadh, the three-day conference brings international, regional, and Saudi thinkers together to discuss the most pressing contemporary philosophical debates and explore the relevance of philosophy in today’s world, under the theme of ‘Unpredictability.’
International philosophers to speak include leading broadcaster on public philosophy Michael Sandel of Harvard University and Luca Maria Scarantino, President of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies. They are joined by many other leading international academics.
Leading philosophers from Saudi Arabia are speaking, including Dalia Toonsi, the founder of Baseera Educational Consultancy, who is hosting the Children’s Philosophy Space within the venue. Abdullah Al-Ghathami, Professor of Criticism and Theory, King Saud University is helping open the conference and Hassan Alsharif, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Saudi Philosophy Center at Taibah University will discuss how to respond ethically to the global pandemic. Alwaleed Adel Alsaggaf from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and Dr. Abdullah Almutairi, president of the Saudi Philosophy Society are also speaking. The full three-day program is available at the conference website.
Sessions will cover a wide range of themes and perspectives and include ‘The Unpredicted and the Limits of Human Reason’, ‘Homo Detritus and the Vastness of Time’, ‘Why (and How) to Inspire Children in Becoming Philosophers?’, ‘Unpredictable Pasts: Rethinking History’, ‘Responding Ethically to the Unprecedented’, ‘How Can the Unexpected Foster New Scientific Paradigms’, ‘Inventing New Futures in Philosophy: An Aesthetic Experience’, and ‘The Challenges of Enquiry’. The full program is available on the event website.
Other leading academic institutions whose academics are taking part include New York University, Universite´ Paris Diderot - Paris VII, University of London, Bog?azic¸i U¨niversitesi, Harvard University, Alfaisal University, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia, University of Cape Town, Universidad Nacional del Nordeste, Bolivia, The American University in Cairo, University of Cairo, University of Pretoria, University of Buenos Aires, University of Toronto and several more.
The conference features plenary talks, panels, a children’s space, high-tech interactive installations that bring philosophy to life such as a ‘philosophy tree’, and a range of activities run by local partners, including several workshops for children run by Saudi educational consultancy Baseera. The Saudi Philosophical Society is running a Philosophical Café for networking sessions. Mekal Philosophy Club is showcasing rare philosophy books and Hekmah Magazine’s booth will feature interviews, videos and publications. Cultural platform Mana is hosting a ‘Reading Village’, and the ‘Mana Platform’ of global conversations with philosophers.
Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan, CEO of the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission said:
“The Riyadh Philosophy Conference is taking place at an important time for the world and for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For our world, the pandemic has demonstrated that unpredictability – our conference theme – in the form of the pandemic, is impacting all our lives, exposing vulnerabilities but also showing how our common humanity is vital in solving challenges. It is timely that the conference will explore some of humanity’s biggest questions through the lens of unpredictability, and show the relevance of philosophy to us all, no matter our age, or nationality.
“The conference is an important moment for Saudi Arabia as well. We’re enjoying a period of exhilarating transformation as we pursue the ambitious goals of Vision 2030, especially in the cultural space. The Riyadh Philosophy Conference is emblematic of this transformation, and by strengthening an interest in philosophy and critical thinking, particularly among young people, it can help provide Saudis with the intellectual tools to build an ever more prosperous future.
“We’re happy to welcome leading thinkers and leading centers of learning from around the world, in a mutual spirit of partnership. We’re confident that there will be a lasting legacy of cross-cultural dialogue and friendship that has a positive ripple effect at home and abroad.”
Source: Saudi Press Agency