The 2018 World Social Science Forum was officially opened on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan. In his opening speech, Crown Prince Naruhito noted the importance of the Forum as an international arena for social scientists, adding that the creation of the International Science Council was “of great significance”.
Under the theme of “Security and Equality for Sustainable Futures” the four-day conference gathers world-leading experts to debate the question of security in all its dimensions. In a pre-recorded message to delegates, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, added his wishes for the success of the Forum.
“Security has become one of the defining questions of our times,” said Daya Reddy, President of the International Science Council, in his opening remarks, adding:
“Societies worldwide are facing new forms of conflicts and wars, disruptive environmental change, a digital revolution which raises a multitude of security issues at different levels, and deep, persistent inequalities shaping how people experience these phenomena and respond to them. As members of the global scientific community, we must further develop our ability to address and respond to these challenges, and increasingly consider how they interact and condition one another.”
Over the next three days, approximately 1,000 participants from all over the world will discuss topics such as conflicts in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, transnational terrorism, human security, Artificial Intelligence, and climate and energy security. Plenary speakers include renowned social scientist Craig Calhoun; Kate Raworth, author of “Doughnut economics”; Katsumi Emura, Executive Vice-President of the NEC Corporation; and prize-winning war correspondent, Hoda Abdel-Hamid.
A round-table held in partnership with UNESCO will highlight policy questions for dealing with security issues in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while a session with government science advisors will look at social security developments in the age of Big Data.
The Forum is organised by the International Science Council together with a consortium of local partners led by Kyushu University.
Chair of the local organising committee, Kazuo Miyamoto, Senior Vice-President of Kyushu University, said: “It is an honour to host the World Social Science Forum in Fukuoka. Kyushu University has long been a hub for international collaboration and pioneering research across the social and natural sciences, and this international event will help to mobilise researchers in the region and further afield. The discussions here truly demonstrate that the contributions of the social sciences are vital for solving the most pressing challenges of the 21st century, and that Japanese social sciences are well placed to be at the forefront of international efforts.”