„European Science and scholarship looking ahead: challenges of the next 25 years‟
Conference rationale by Professor Cinzia Ferrini
Europe has a distinctive historical tradition and culture in global research and scholarship and a very long history of excellence and learning. The last 25 years have been marked by tremendous achievements and have posed grand challenges across many different fields of scholarship.
This, the 25th anniversary meeting of the Academia Europaea, offered a global, interdisciplinary vision of the past and especially looked ahead, to show how our home continent’s strengths and talents can provide us, through the development of scientific knowledge, humanistic awareness and cultural tools, with the critical equipment we need for a viable future and for a pathway into more sustainable and responsible research programs in the European area.
The conference structure, included a number of keynote plenary speakers and high-level debates – drawing on global leaders (Nobel laureates and similar) in the sciences and in wider fields of scholarship, who collectively showed how our European strengths can impact on major current and developing issues, by offering a dynamic balance between hindsight and foresight in many key disciplines. The Plenary debates covered ethical issues and educational values in the academic research communities, social and economic impacts and benefits of past and future migrations and answers for future urban developments, climate change and the impact of man on habitat (The current concept of the Anthropocene). Each plenary session were followed by a more focussed set of parallel session of leading European researchers, representing the various branches in which our academy is engaged and where in depth issues and topics were explored. For example; sessions addressing the European ideal; covering the life sciences and latest advances in biodiversity, past and future impacts of informatics, paradigm shifts in the Humanities and Social Sciences and highlighting the contribution of the host country in philosophy and logic.
Last but not least, this silver jubilee launched our academy itself into a viable future through the collaboration with the affiliated Young Academy of Europe, which co-organizeed a parallel session on its future visions and research perspectives in cosmology.