IHEU historic photo

Humanists International celebrates 70 years

  • post Type / Humanists International News
  • Date / 26 August 2022

This month, Humanists International is celebrating 70 years since it was founded in 1952.

To mark the occasion, we have launched our updated Declaration of Modern Humanism; the Amsterdam Declaration 2022. The declaration sets out the values and principles which unite our global movement, as agreed by Members and Associates of Humanists International from around the world, at the 2022 General Assembly in Glasgow.

As part of the celebrations, we have also created a new video for Members and supporters to share on social media.

Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International, commented:

“In 1952, at the first World Humanist Congress, the founders of Humanists International agreed on a statement of the fundamental principles of modern Humanism. They called it “The Amsterdam Declaration. Of course, the world has changed significantly since then, and in keeping with the democratic and progressive values of the organization and movement, the declaration has been reviewed and updated over the years. While opinions and definitions of humanism may differ slightly from person to person, or between organizations and groups, the Amsterdam Declaration is adopted by all Members and Associates of Humanists International, as our definitive guiding principles”

The Amsterdam Declaration 2022


Humanist beliefs and values are as old as civilization and have a history in most societies around the world. Modern humanism is the culmination of these long traditions of reasoning about meaning and ethics, the source of inspiration for many of the world’s great thinkers, artists, and humanitarians, and is interwoven with the rise of modern science. As a global humanist movement, we seek to make all people aware of these essentials of the humanist worldview:

1. Humanists strive to be ethical

  • We accept that morality is inherent to the human condition, grounded in the ability of living things to suffer and flourish, motivated by the benefits of helping and not harming, enabled by reason and compassion, and needing no source outside of humanity.
  • We affirm the worth and dignity of the individual and the right of every human to the greatest possible freedom and fullest possible development compatible with the rights of others. To these ends we support peace, democracy, the rule of law, and universal legal human rights.
  • We reject all forms of racism and prejudice and the injustices that arise from them. We seek instead to promote the flourishing and fellowship of humanity in all its diversity and individuality.
  • We hold that personal liberty must be combined with a responsibility to society. A free person has duties to others, and we feel a duty of care to all of humanity, including future generations, and beyond this to all sentient beings.
  • We recognise that we are part of nature and accept our responsibility for the impact we have on the rest of the natural world.

2. Humanists strive to be rational

  • We are convinced that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human reason, and action. We advocate the application of science and free inquiry to these problems, remembering that while science provides the means, human values must define the ends. We seek to use science and technology to enhance human well-being, and never callously or destructively.

3. Humanists strive for fulfillment in their lives

  • We value all sources of individual joy and fulfillment that harm no other, and we believe that personal development through the cultivation of creative and ethical living is a lifelong undertaking.
  • We therefore treasure artistic creativity and imagination and recognise the transforming power of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts. We cherish the beauty of the natural world and its potential to bring wonder, awe, and tranquility. We appreciate individual and communal exertion in physical activity, and the scope it offers for comradeship and achievement. We esteem the quest for knowledge, and the humility, wisdom, and insight it bestows.

4. Humanism meets the widespread demand for a source of meaning and purpose to stand as an alternative to dogmatic religion, authoritarian nationalism, tribal sectarianism, and selfish nihilism

  • Though we believe that a commitment to human well-being is ageless, our particular opinions are not based on revelations fixed for all time. Humanists recognise that no one is infallible or omniscient, and that knowledge of the world and of humankind can be won only through a continuing process of observation, learning, and rethinking.
  • For these reasons, we seek neither to avoid scrutiny nor to impose our view on all humanity. On the contrary, we are committed to the unfettered expression and exchange of ideas, and seek to cooperate with people of different beliefs who share our values, all in the cause of building a better world.
  • We are confident that humanity has the potential to solve the problems that confront us, through free inquiry, science, sympathy, and imagination in the furtherance of peace and human flourishing.
  • We call upon all who share these convictions to join us in this inspiring endeavor.

Work will now begin on translating the updated declaration for humanists around the world

With the help of our Members around the world, the Amsterdam Declaration 2002 was eventually translated in 37 languages. We are now encouraging our Members and Associates to submit their translations once again. Please email our Membership Development Officer to find out how.

70 Years of Humanism

Our movement has achieved so much for humanists over the past 70 years but there is still a great deal to do. If you share our values, please consider joining us as Member, Associate or individual supporter today. With your help, we can continue to campaign on humanist issues, lobby for humanist values at international institutions (including the UN) and protect humanists at risk of persecution and violence. Together, we can build a kinder, more ethical and more rational world.

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