World Humanist Congress 2014: call for expressions of interest from potential hosts

  • post Type / Conferences
  • Date / 6 September 2010

IHEU is now calling for expressions of interest from Member Organizations interested in organizing and hosting the 19th World Humanist Congress in 2014. The Congress is an opportunity to strengthen the host organization and the local Humanist movement. IHEU organizes World Humanist Congresses once every three years. Expressions of interest are not a firm commitment, but only an invitation to begin discussions.

  • The 13th World Humanist Congress was held in Mexico City in 1996
  • The 14th World Humanist Congress was held in Mumbai in 1999
  • The 15th World Humanist Congress was held in Amsterdam in 2002
  • The 16th World Humanist Congress was held in Paris in 2005
  • The 17th World Humanist Congress was held in Washington, D.C., USA in 2008
  • The 18th World Humanist Congress is to be held in 2011 in Oslo, Norway.

IHEU is now calling for expressions of interest from Member Organizations willing to consider organizing and hosting the 19th World Humanist Congress. IHEU sees its World Humanist Congresses as part of the Growth and Development Strategy for Humanism worldwide, and seeks to strengthen the host organization and the local Humanist movement through media and public relations assistance, as well as organizational help where possible. For the 18th and 19th World Humanist Congresses, IHEU aims to increase further the participation of youth and women through travel assistance, reasonable registration fees and development of an appropriate Congress programme. IHEU is aiming to make the World Humanist Congresses large-scale events, and is expecting that by announcing the events several years in advance it will be possible to stimulate interest in the events amongst humanists and the general public. Ideally, the 2014 Congress would be held outside Europe.

IHEU intends to appoint the Host Organization early in 2011 so that members of the 2014 Congress Committee can attend the 2011 Congress in Oslo, and so that the 2014 venue can be announced at the end of the 2011 Congress.

Procedures and Responsibilities of the Host Organization

All IHEU member organizations are welcome to bid for hosting a Congress. IHEU Congresses are organized by an IHEU member organization in coordination with IHEU. A Congress Committee is formed in which IHEU will have one or two representatives – typically including the IHEU President, but this may be different for reasons of efficiency. The Congress Committee will be in charge – through a Congress Secretariat – of making practical arrangements, meeting venues and accommodation as well as visas for those who require them, and of course, importantly, for developing a programme which adequately reflects the vitality and variety of the Humanist movement around the world, and which will also have a balanced gender and East-West / North-South representation. The Congress Committee will also propose a theme for the Congress and interact with the Speakers etc. The Congress Committee is empowered to produce a brochure, accept a Congress logo (incorporating the “Happy Human” symbol) and where so agreed, to bring out a publication of the Congress proceedings. The Congress Committee also takes care of any cultural events. Congress languages are both the local language and English. However, if many of the speakers speak in the local language, then simultaneous interpretation arrangements will need to be made.


It will be IHEU’s responsibility to provide maximum publicity to the Congress worldwide. Where possible IHEU will extend funds to help the travel of Third World participants, and funds from the Congress registration fees may also be used by the organizers to fund such arrangements. Typically, since IHEU does not take the financial responsibility for a Congress, any profits that may be realized will go to the host organization and not to IHEU. On the negative side, so would any losses. However, the travel subsidies traditionally provided by IHEU to third world participants form a significant sum of money and can be seen as IHEU’s contribution to the Congress budget.

Associated Events

Though often organized in a university setting, IHEU Congresses are not academic conferences, but popular events which have a mass appeal, and an interest for the media. Where there is an interest expressed, an associated academic conference, and similar associated events like a Youth Conference of the IHEYO etc. can also be organized in conjunction with an IHEU Congress.

How to Express Interest

IHEU Member Organizations are invited to email IHEU with their expression of interest and setting out plans for the Congress, including possible dates and venue. The application should specifically confirm that the invitation to IHEU is authorized by the Board of the Member organization and give an idea of the human resources that will be available for the Congress organization. IHEU’s Executive Committee will process the bids and present proposals to the IHEU’s General Assembly. For further information, please read the IHEU Congress Regulations. Please write by 26 October 2010 (preferably by email) to the Executive Committee of IHEU at [email protected] or by post to 1, Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD, United Kingdom.

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