Inauguration of the International Year of Global Understanding

The International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU) 2016 will be officially inaugurated today in a public opening ceremony in Jena, Germany.

From climate change to air pollution to the wider societal impacts of income inequality, the global consequences of local actions are increasingly noticeable. Changing the world is everyone’s business, and taking action on global issues locally involves an understanding of the many ways in which the local and the global are intertwined. This is the central idea of the 2016 “International Year of Global Understanding” (IYGU), which was launched at the World Social Science Forum in 2015 and will be inaugurated today.

A public opening ceremony will be held at the ‘Volkshaus’ in Jena at 2 p.m.

Professor Klaus Töpfer, the former German Federal Minister for the Environment and the former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will deliver the keynote address. Dr Mathieu Denis, Executive Director of the ISSC will also speak in the opening ceremony, alongside a number of high-level guests from all over the world.

Beside the ceremonial speeches, a range of IYGU’s central topics and projects will be presented. The initiative aims not only to enrich the debate on fundamental scientific questions, but also to support concrete, everyday projects that help foster Global Understanding. Professor Benno Werlen, who initiated and developed the IYGU, said

 “We wish to build bridges between global thinking and local action. IYGU will encourage people to make their everyday choices in the light of global challenges.”

The opening ceremony is a public event (entrance is free). It will be primarily held in English.

Download the full programme.

More information on the IYGU can be found at:

The international year is supported by the ISSC, ICSU (International Council for Science) and CIPSH (International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences). It originates from the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena in Germany, and was developed in cooperation with the International Geographical Union.