UNESCO Commemorates the World Philosophy Day 2021 with Dar es Salaam University

The World Philosophy Day at UNESCO has been celebrated every year since 2002, on the third Thursday of November. In proclaiming a World Philosophy Day, the Member States of UNESCO at its 33rd General Conference in 2005 underlined the beneficial influence of this Day on the promotion of philosophy teaching, which is absent from the curricula in many countries and occupies a position that is both uncertain and weak in others.

In contributing to maintaining this tradition, UNESCO collaborated with the University of Dar es Salaam School of Humanities in organizing a conference under the theme “Philosophy in Tanzania Today: Reaching to the Core of Political and Socio-Economic Concerns”. The conference gathered philosophers and experts to reflect on the pluralism of issues attracted by the main theme; notably from a critical thinking of what could be “An Ethically Relevant Concept of Democracy”, to theorizing social justice from a religious perspective, to addressing “Tanzanian Women Economic justice and rights prospects”. The conference also provided an opportunity for the experts to question and self-criticize on “The place of Philosophy in Tanzanian Intellectual Formation” and also exploring the opportunity of “Replacing Monopolies with Impact Rewards”, among some of the themes addressed by this conference.

This 1-Day Symposium featured prominent interventions such as from Prof. William A.L. Anangisye, Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar Es Salaam as well as Dr. Rose Upor, Principal of the College of Humanities at the University of Dar Es Salaam.

Taking place during the 41st General Conference of the Organization, the conference contributed to the “Worldwide philosophical relay-race” UNESCO was supporting, with a series of philosophical webinars in all regions, addressing as varied themes as “Science, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Pandemic” (Asia and the Pacific), “Religion and Enlightenment in Times of Crisis: A Relation of Continuity or Discontinuity? Exemplified in Inequality between Man and Woman” (Arab States), “Covid and Endogenous Responses: philosophical perspectives” (Africa), “Philosophy in Times of Social Crisis” (LAC), and “Epistemological, Social and Ethical Issues of Interdisciplinarity and the Plurality of Knowledge” for Europe and North America region.

“UNESCO has always been closely linked to philosophy, which is defined as a “School of Freedom”. Through critical questioning, philosophy gives meaning to life and action in the international, regional and notional contexts. The link between philosophy and UNESCO stems from the inquiry on the possibility of and necessary conditions for the establishment of long-term peace and security in the world.” recalled Mr. Ngandeu Ngatta Hugue, Head of the Social and Human Sciences Sector at the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa

The agenda of the Day convoked the intellectual work of the philosopher, in dialogue with other humanities disciplines and social sciences, to contribute to institutional responses to the challenges of social transformations. The event also honoured the winners of an Essay competition organized ahead of this Day celebration to instill and encourage youth participation in philosophical discussions to further shape their societies and communities.

This celebration enabled UNESCO to fulfil its role as a catalyst of ideas and a forum for encounter and reflection, while upgrading, alongside the other human and social sciences, the questioning and critical function of the discipline of philosophy.


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