2nd UBIAS Intercontinental Academia on Human Dignity Phase 3
Colloquium in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 21-25, 2019
An interdisciplinary and international research group of young scholars gathered in Johannesburg for a week-long, intensive colloquium focusing on Human Dignity. The research group was a joint initiative of the Israel Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Jerusalem and the Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (ZiF) in Bielefeld, Germany, under the auspices of the Intercontinental Academia program of the UBIAS (University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study) network.
Following the success of the meetings in Jerusalem (Phase 1) and Bielefeld (Phase 2), JIAS’s Director Peter Vale extended an invitation to host an additional meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. The research group had already done extensive work on a book project based on Phases 1 and 2, with Stephanie Arel, Levi Cooper, and Vanessa Hellmann serving as the editorial team. The possibility of a Phase 3 in Johannesburg provided an opportunity to further the book project by discussing the book chapters while deepening academic exchange, expanding horizons and adding another continent to the endeavor.
Scholars from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, Romania, and USA were joined by South African scholars. Each day was spent with renowned scholars discussing different aspects of Human Dignity and the unique South African story and challenges. The first two days were dedicated to “The Negotiation of Human Dignity” finding common ground in understanding the principle, the value, the right of Human Dignity, this time with a special focus from the South African scholarly perspective. The third day was committed to “Transformative Justice”, as a judicial but also philosophical strategy for peacemaking following the end of the Apartheid’s regime with its inherited conflicts. The last two days were dedicated to “Religion and Remembrance”, with presentations by scholars from different religious backgrounds, and “Creativity and Recreation”, introduced by South African artists, writers and other scholars. Lively academic discourse was complemented by field trips to important Human Dignity-related sites in Johannesburg and the region.
Without doubt, Phase 3 of the Human Dignity Intercontinental Academia was a successful example of international academic cooperation, pushing the boundaries, academically and personally, of everyone involved.
Phase 3 of the 2nd Intercontinental Academia on Human Dignity was made possible by the ongoing support of several institutes and their members: JIAS and JIAS’ Director Peter Vale, new JIAS’ Director Bongani Ngqulunga, JIAS’ staff members Emelia Kamena, Reshmi Singh, Christian and all staff members on JIAS’ campus, ZiF and ZiF’s Executive Director Véronique Zanetti, ZiF’s former Executive Director Ulrike Davy and ZiF’s Managing Director Britta Padberg, IIAS and IIAS’ Director Yitzhak Hen, IIAS’ former Director Michal Linial and IIAS’ Administrative Director Iris Avivi, UBIAS and (Chairman) Coordinator of UBIAS’ Guilherme Ari Plonski and the IEA-USP, São Paulo, Brazil.