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             6 October 2000


In October, the United Nations University (UNU) and its Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU/IAS) will bring together a number of renowned academics, practitioners and thinkers from around the world for a global dialogue focusing on various current issues and dilemmas that challenge our tradition frameworks of values and ethics. This three-day "International Conference on Global Ethos" will open 24 October in celebration of UN Day 2000, and will feed into the UNU's ongoing initiative relating to the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations: 2001. The conference is supported by the United Nations Development Programme and Tokyo Forum.

The conference is underpinned by the recognition that dramatic developments in science and technology, as well as in political and social thought, are beginning to transform the ways in which we understand and organize human society. These developments have the potential to catapult humanity into a new era in which all peoples can live together in a world system that is stable, equitable and just. But if these developments are not managed thoughtfully, they may instead place further strains on our already stressed natural environment, widen the global gap that exists between rich and poor, and further concentrate access to knowledge and influence over international decision-making.

The conference will provide a forum in which many of the key challenges we face today can be discussed and explored in an attempt to locate an initial common ground from which all humanity can progress. These challenges will be discussed within four themes: (1) Global Capitalism and Sustainable Development; (2) Science, Knowledge and Ethics; (3) International Society, Justice and Equity; and (4) Religion, Gender and Culture. Several specific practical issues that are currently the focus of international attention will provide focus for the thematic discussions. The issues will be drawn together and addressed within the broader context of Global Ethos during the conference's opening and closing sessions.

Scheduled keynote speakers include Hans Küng, Director Emeritus, Institute for Ecumenical Research, University of Tübingen (Germany); Thomas Axworthy, InterAction Council, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Yersu Kim, Former Director, Universal Values Project, UNESCO Division of Philosophy and Ethics; and Vigdis Finnbogadottir, former President, Republic of Iceland, and Chair, Council of Women World Leaders, Harvard.

A copy of the conference programme is attached: [ PDF | Word ]. The conference is open to the public. Additional information is available online at, where the conference will also be broadcast live. Simultaneous interpretation in English and Japanese will be provided. Media representatives are cordially invited to attend.

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For further information and interview requests, please contact:

The UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246 . Fax (03) 3406-7346




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