Every three years, humanists from around the globe gather in a different city to participate in the World Humanist Congress (WHC), hosted by Humanists International and one of their member organizations. Next year, the American Humanist Association (AHA) is proud to co-host the 2020 World Humanist Congress in Miami, Florida, August 6-9.
The WHC will bring together delegates from over fifty countries and more than 100 humanist, atheist, and skeptic organizations from all the world. Over a four-day program of plenary sessions and panel discussions, attendees will enjoy international speakers, workshops, leadership and campaign seminars, arts and performances, and vital networking to make the connections that will strengthen and build the global humanist movement.
According to Andrew Copson, president of Humanists International,
The international humanist movement is really excited to be coming to the US and to be hosted by the American Humanist Association in 2020.
This is an extraordinary time for international humanism, on the one hand because Humanists International is growing and flourishing, with member organizations in more countries than ever before. But it’s also a dangerous time, with populist nationalist movements forming in many parts of the world, a backlash against human rights, and in some countries there’s pushback against secularism and other forms of equality, and even against democracy itself.
World Humanist Congress is truly important for our movement. It’s where humanists from a host country join with humanists from around the world to celebrate the rights and freedoms we have, and the good work that is being done, as well as looking at those challenges, so we can learn and think and plan together the way forward.
The theme for the 2020 Congress is Beyond Borders: Our Global Humanist Culture. Exploring this timely topic, participants will discover what unites us as humanists beyond physical borders. We’ll have the chance to address the “border-crossing” issues like migration, especially the refugee movement and forced migration, that are important in several regions right now, as well as to address truly global issues that affect us all: the climate crisis, the challenges and opportunities associated with globalization, and the defense of human rights and democracy.
The 2020 Congress will focus on the values and ideas that unite us. We’ll try to answer such vital questions as: What brings us together to create a cohesive global humanist culture? And what does it mean to be humanist? We’ll examine humanist perspectives on human rights, the importance of supporting apostates and ending blasphemy laws, the humanist role in issues of migration and addressing the climate crisis, approaches to death and loss, the role of young humanists, humanist education, using mass media and social media to spread awareness, and much more.
If you regularly attend the American Humanist Association’s annual conference, you won’t want to miss this event with expanded choices of sessions, larger audiences, and exciting arts opportunities. Even if you don’t typically attend AHA’s conferences, you’ll want to meet us in Miami to mingle with people from all over the world, as together we deepen our understanding of humanism and explore the values and ideas we share.
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA, reports,
When the AHA made our proposal to host the 2020 Congress, we chose Miami as the venue because the city is known for its vibrant and diverse culture—as well as the beautiful scenery and beaches. The arts scene, trendy nightlife, tropical weather, and mix of cultures make it a perfect setting to explore our theme and one of the most exciting places to visit in the United States.
Humanists International (until recently the International Humanist and Ethical Union) was founded by the AHA, American Ethical Union, British Ethical Union (now Humanists UK), Dutch Humanist League (now Humanistisch Verbond), and Vienna Ethical Society.
Since 1952, Humanists International has convened a World Humanist Congress on a regular basis. The last one was held in Oxford, England, in 2014 on the theme of “freedom of thought and expression,” resulting in the adoption of the 2014 Oxford Declaration. The World Humanist Congress hasn’t been held in the United States for over a decade, since the AHA hosted the event in Washington, DC, in 2008.
Copson is encouraging humanists from across the globe to participate in the meeting: “Do come and join with humanists from around the world. We’ll be inspired, learn from each other, and look to the future.”
To find out more about the WHC, available sessions, opportunities to meet fellow humanists, and how to register, visit www.humanism2020.org. Register now to take advantage of the early-bird discounts. Registration fees go up on January 15, 2020.
See you in Miami!