The power of philosophical collaboration in Riyadh


There are many reasons why I am eagerly awaiting the Riyadh Philosophy Conference – the first such event to be held in the kingdom.

To begin with, the conference, December 8-10, will feature presentations from a wide range of leading living thinkers on some of the most important issues facing humanity today. For example, audiences – both physical and online – will hear lectures from such luminaries as Eva Illouz, Michael Sandel, Luca Maria Scarantino and Patricia Churchland.

Likewise, the conference will be an opportunity for the brilliant Saudi speakers to introduce to an international audience the many ways in which they are now not only conducting philosophical debates within the kingdom, but also how they will increasingly play the role of the kingdom. future an important role in setting the agenda. for the global philosophical conversation.

For example, Dalia Toonsi, the founder of Baseera Educational Consultancy, will speak at a panel on “Inventing new educational paradigms for a changing world”, while Hassan Alsharif, assistant professor of philosophy and president of the Saudi Philosophy Center from Taibah University joins international colleagues to discuss how to respond ethically to the global pandemic. Alwaleed Adel Alsaggaf of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and Dr Abdullah Almutairi, President of the Saudi Philosophy Society, also speak at the conference.

For those of us fortunate enough to attend one of these speeches, I think they will truly be “I was there” moments – events that we will tell future generations about.

Although as the Director General of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia, I accept that I am biased, but I predict that the program – organized for the conference by the Committee on Literature, Publishing and translation – will make it the highlight of the 2020 International Philosophy Calendar.

No other event on philosophy over the past year has brought together such a diverse group of world-class speakers, nor has it presented such a spectacular range of lectures to ensure that philosophy is accessible to all types of speakers. public.

Most exciting of all, perhaps, is the legacy the event will leave for future generations.

Anyone attending the conference – from those engaged in the lifelong study of philosophy to those with only a rudimentary understanding of philosophical concepts – will find something to broaden the mind and demonstrate that Philosophy is not only an ancient discipline which belongs to the past, but rather a dynamic and modern field of scholarship of interest to everyone.

In addition to listening to lectures, participants will have the opportunity to participate in debates and workshops, but also to experience innovative interactive exhibits designed to bring philosophy to life in a way that is both fun and stimulating, for people of all ages.

For example, the Conference Philosophy Tree is an exhibit that illustrates philosophical concepts in both enchanting and educational ways. Likewise, the Philosophy Cafe in the main lobby will be the perfect place to reflect on life’s deepest ideas.

What excites me most about the conference, however, is the potential it has to create a lasting legacy; one that cements Saudi Arabia’s position as a place where the greatest philosophers can come to meet with like-minded academics to further awaken and create an international network of collaboration and partnership, underpinned through friendship.

Atmosphere during MDL Beast, a three-day festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, bringing together the best of music, performing arts and culture.

Indeed, in the weeks and months that we have worked so hard to prepare for the conference, I have been repeatedly struck by the many ways in which the event has already bonded and precipitated a dialogue that no would not have happened otherwise.

The power of philosophical collaboration to transcend geographies and boundaries in this way has been noticeable every day, and I know that when the event does happen and speakers and participants can meet face to face, that power will be tremendously significant. amplified.

For this reason, I expect the conference to be not just a meeting of minds, but also of friends – the basis for lasting relationships based on a shared fascination with the bigger issues.

The transformation Saudi Arabia is undergoing as we pursue the ambitious goals of Vision 2030 is exhilarating. The scale and pace of the positive changes taking place across the kingdom can be difficult for people who have not witnessed it firsthand.

The Riyadh Philosophical Conference is emblematic of this transformation – a tangible manifestation of Saudi Arabia’s enthusiasm to engage in the spirit of partnership with leading learning centers and ensure that our voice is influential in the global debate of ideas.

Most exciting of all, perhaps, is the legacy the event will leave for future generations. In recent years, young people in Saudi Arabia have become increasingly interested in how the study of philosophy can enrich all experiences, for ourselves and for others.

While you are here

An annual international philosophy conference that becomes an event in which the greatest living philosophers gravitate will only increase this enthusiasm, encouraging young minds to deepen the ideas upon which all human interactions and feelings are based.

The theme of the conference is ‘unpredictability’ and, over the course of the three-day event, the audience will be challenged to reflect on how understanding philosophical concepts can help us navigate uncertainty and to develop a deep appreciation for the inability to guess. the future.

While the past two years, defined as it has been by the pandemic, have demonstrated the unpredictability of life, I am confident to predict that the Riyadh Philosophy Conference will be a wonderful event.

Posted: Dec 7, 2021, 9:00 AM


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