21.10. - 22.10. 2020




Benno Werlen



The natural sciences have driven the world’s attention to the mostly unintended, but ecologically harmful consequences of modern lifestyles. As important as these insights are, they are clearly insufficient for motivating needed policy change and change of the ways of living. Finding solutions to today’s most urgent global problems calls for a broad humanistic approach. Our everyday actions are deeply culturally and socially embedded. Given the many crises contemporary societies face now, all of which are overlaid by that of sustainability, there is now more than ever an urgent need to understand the many dimensions of human experience that impact our world.

Getting people to change their ways of living and supporting actions that trend toward global sustainability is certainly required. This demands first of all a respectful appreciation of cultural and social diversity and particularities across different regions of the world. Consequently, we need to find regionally and culturally differentiated paths to reach that goal.

Through their study and understanding of the many dimensions of human experience that shape contemporary societies, the humanities and social sciences are of crucial importance. They can provide a foundation for the mobilization of relevant local and regional knowledge that will be necessary for societal transformations. Deep societal transformations without the social sciences’ and the humanities’ insights are hardly feasible.

The aim of the conference is to explore the humanities’ and social sciences’ capabilities to contribute to such broadening of sustainability research and its practical implementation. In particular, conferees will consider ways in which these areas of inquiry can contribute to the identification of culturally differentiated pathways towards global sustainability. The conference is aimed at researchers, students and policy-makers from all domains interested in integrative sustainability research.

The conference will be broadcast on YouTube Live. To join the livestream visit our platform and tour through the virtual conference venue (Dornburg Palaces near Jena/Germany) at

During conference it will be possible to leave comments and questions using the YouTube Live chat.

Source and further information: Conference Invitiation, Benno Werlen (UNESCO-Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability / Friedrich Schiller University Jena).