Fukuoka, 25 September 2018 – The 2018 World Social Science Forum was officially opened today by Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan. In his opening speech, His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito noted the importance of the Forum as an international arena for social scientists, especially in the context of the recent creation of the International Science Council (ISC).
“I hope that it will be worthy of the first conference held after the creation of the ISC by serving as a forum for scholars working in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to discuss among themselves and work together for the world’s urgent issues”, said His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito.
Under the theme of ‘Security and Equality for Sustainable Futures’ the four-day conference will gather world-leading experts to debate the question of security in all its dimensions. In a pre-recorded message to delegates, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, added his wishes for the success of the Forum.
“Security has become one of the defining questions of our times,” said Daya Reddy, President of the International Science Council, in his opening remarks:
“Societies worldwide are facing new forms of conflicts and wars, disruptive environmental change, a digital revolution which raises a multitude of security issues at different levels, and deep, persistent inequalities shaping how people experience these phenomena and respond to them. As members of the global scientific community, we must further develop our ability to address and respond to these challenges, and increasingly consider how they interact and condition one another.”
Over the next three days, approximately 1000 participants from all over the world will discuss topics such as conflicts in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, transnational terrorism, human security, Artificial Intelligence, and climate and energy security. Plenary speakers include renowned social scientist Craig Calhoun; Kate Raworth, author of ‘Doughnut economics’; Katsumi Emura, Executive Vice-President of the NEC Corporation; and prize-winning war correspondent Hoda Abdel-Hamid. A round-table held in partnership with UNESCO will highlight policy questions for dealing with security issues in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while a session with government science advisors will look at social security developments in the age of Big Data.
The Forum is organized by the International Science Council together with a consortium of local partners led by Kyushu University. Chair of the local organizing committee Kazuo Miyamoto, Senior Vice-President of Kyushu University, said:
“It is an honour to host the World Social Science Forum in Fukuoka. Kyushu University has long been a hub for international collaboration and pioneering research across the social and natural sciences, and this international event will help to mobilize researchers in the region and further afield. The discussions here truly demonstrate that the contributions of the social sciences are vital for solving the most pressing challenges of the 21st century, and that Japanese social sciences are well placed to be at the forefront of international efforts.”
On 28 September the plenary session on New Forms of Conflict in a Global Age will be livestreamed from 9:00 JST.
About the World Social Science Forum
The World Social Science Forum series was launched by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) in 2009. Following the merger, in July 2018, of ISSC and the International Council for Science (ICSU), the 2018 Forum is presented as the first international scientific event led by the new International Science Council. The World Fora gather researchers, funders, policymakers and other stakeholders from all over the world to discuss important societal challenges, take stock of social science contributions and capacities, and make recommendations for future research, practice and policy.
The 2018 Forum is the fourth in the series, and the first to be held in Asia.
About the International Science Council
The International Science Council (ISC) is a non-governmental organization with a global membership of more than 180 organizations, including national scientific bodies, International Scientific Unions and Associations, and Affiliated Members.
The ISC was created in 2018 as the result of a merger between the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC). This makes the Council the unique representative body of both the natural and the social sciences, and the largest global scientific membership organization of its kind.
More information about ISC is available on its website, http://www.council.science
Lizzie Sayer, International Science Council
+33 6 22 34 44 83
This text was updated on 23 October 2018 in order to include a longer quote from His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito, and to include the full title of Their Imperial Highnesses in the title of the piece.