State, Secularism and the Humanist Challenge – Stockholm, Sweden, 10-12 November 2006
How can we make the world safe for democracy and a secular society?
Some say this is the most important question of our time. Relativistic attitudes articulated by postmodernists, unsubtle and dangerous views on the values of multiculturalism in politics, fundamentalist religious groups trying, day by day, to move their positions forward, superstition and pseudoscience spreading in many fields – these are real and serious threats against our humanist ideals: ideals that include pluralism, tolerance and an open mind, as well as freedom of speech, critical inquiry and human rights.
How the state should relate to different religious and life stance organisations is one key topic we would like to discuss. Another is how Humanists best can meet the challenges in an age of globalism. We will also try to find more effective ways of cooperation between the Humanist organisations involved in this conference.
Invitation to a Baltic Humanist project
Two years ago, the Swedish and Norwegian Humanist Associations began to plan for a Nordic event. Soon it became clear that it would be a good idea to expand the plans to include the whole Baltic Sea region. When we presented the project to Humanists internationally, in the area as well as outside, we received great encouragement. This year’s First Baltic Humanist Conference is not to be seen as a single event, but rather as one step forward towards closer relations in the future. The follow-up after the November meeting in Stockholm is even more important than the conference itself.
The main reason for this Nordic and Baltic Sea project is threefold:
In the actual area this last point means a challenge for us to reach out in nations where, until now, the international humanist movement has no associated partners.
As far as we know this is still the case in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. A long term goal is therefore to search for and invite people from these countries, who are willing to join us in our common project. Hopefully it may lead to a more dynamic and influential role for humanism in the whole region.
A more immediate result, already in sight after this year’s conference, is a clearer view of the conditions under which humanist groups live. In order to be able to compare the different situations in countries around the Baltic Sea region we will prepare an enquete, complementary to the questionnaire the IHEU already sent out last year. This will be carried out before the Stockholm meeting.
A preliminary report is then going to be presented before the conference, during which it will be analysed and thoroughly discussed. The final report is to be completed afterwards. We ask for your help with this task. The enquete will be distributed to all existing humanist organisations in the region.
We are happy to invite active humanists, primarily from this part of Europe, to a three-day-event in Stockholm. The conference will be held at Campus Konradsberg, premises of the Stockholm Institute of Education. The Campus is located in one of Stockholm’s most beautiful parks, only 5 minutes by underground from Central Station. For further information, map etc.: http://www1.lhs.se/lhskonferens/eng_kom.html
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