“Building Knowledge Societies” is the theme of UNESCO’s 21st Century Dialogue that opened today in Seoul. The event is being held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU) and the visit of UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura to the Republic of Korea.
The theme “ Building Knowledge Societies”, that is being debated by the some 25 experts participating in the meeting, is chosen in relation with the title of the first UNESCO World Report, which is planned to be published early next year.
The concept of knowledge societies was also one of UNESCO’s main contributions to the debates of the World Summit on the Information Society where UNESCO consistently promoted four key principles that are necessary for the construction of knowledge societies, namely freedom of expression, universal access to information, equal access to education and cultural diversity.
The experts, specialists in areas ranging philosophy to ICTs, including fundamental sciences, pedagogy, prospective studies, etc., explore the prospects made possible by the increasing importance of knowledge, in the fields of scientific research, basic and higher education, cultural diversity and democratic participation, among others.
As a major component of the foresight and anticipation programme of UNESCO, the 21st Century Dialogues have brought together, since 1997, leading experts, researchers, scientists and policy-makers from all over the world to discuss important transdisciplinary themes. An anthology of the 21st Century Dialogues and Talks has been published in English (Keys to the 21st Century), Chinese, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese. A second anthology, entitled The Future of Values has just been published in French and will be available in English in early August 2004, and in Spanish and Arabic in 2005.