Plenary Session I: Tackling Inequality with Enabling Knowledge in Asian Development

Oct 24
Music Hall, Art & Culture Building

In 1919, Rudolf Steiner presented six public lectures under the title, “The Social Future: Culture, Equality and the Economy”, where he proposed that a healthy social organism consisted of three spheres of society: the cultural sphere, including art, science, religion, and education; the legal-political sphere; and the economic sphere. As we continue to discuss how to achieve sustainability in the 21st Century, the new dialogue on the UN 2030 agenda and SDGs adds a further dimension to peace building as it threads the concept of human rights and equality across all spheres.

From our current view, the outlook often seems to be problematic and uncertain. Thus, opening the way to an improved future remains a key challenge.  In terms of knowledge production, the boundaries that exist between disciplines remain marked while new frontiers of science wait to be explored. Yet, the future is a concept that transcends across disciplinary boundaries and links between the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Therefore, only by stepping across these boundaries can we examine what possible futures might emerge within key domains of human and social activity.  Overcoming the knowledge divide is necessary to: achieve a sustainable social future; reduce social inequality; increase environmental protection; and decrease conflicts. This is also a common challenge in connecting the SDGs to create an integrated platform for a sustainable future.

A second challenge is connecting academic knowledge with the reality of people on the ground. This link is necessary so we can talk with each other about the future challenges that humanity is facing. Improving citizen participation is fundamental to achieving the quality of life envisioned in the UN 2030 Agenda. The SDGs provide a platform for social dialogue to talk beyond individual perspectives.

This plenary session will address the following questions:

  1. How can we turn a situation of differences and separations to one of collaboration? What are the challenges to link the knowledge of different disciplines such as the natural sciences and social sciences for the future?
  2. How can we synchronize or align the views of policy makers, social activists and academics towards a sustainable future beyond knowledge divides?
  3. How can people from diverse backgrounds collaborate towards attaining an inclusive and sustainable future?