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NOV. 15, 2021

Government officials announce new edition of the Congress of the Future

The upcoming edition of the Congress of the Future will span 5 days and bring together more than 80 presenters, close to 20 countries, and 11 regions of Chile, including Santiago, focusing on topics from all areas of learning and knowledge. Among its many surprises, the conference will have a mixed format and one day will be dedicated to digital citizenship and education for girls and women.

Organized under the slogan Learning to Live Together, the Chilean Senate -through its Future Challenges Commission—and the Encuentros del Futuro (Future Encounters) Foundation, officially announced the new edition of the Congress of the Future. The most important outreach event in Latin America on science, technology, the humanities, the arts and innovation will take place in Santiago and 10 other regions of Chile between January 17 and 21, 2022.

During the conference, close to 80 experts from over 20 countries will come together, bringing the best from their disciplines to broaden the minds of audiences and to discuss the changes that have occurred, and will continue to occur, across the globe in each and every society. The event will ask us to reflect on “Learning to Live Together”, taking into account the global transformations caused by the pandemic, which have changed the ways we live, communicate, and address problems, with science and knowledge providing key guidance to humanity. 

President of the Future Challenges Commission, Senator Guido Girardi, stated that in this new version of the Congress of the Future, “we will discuss the most stimulating and cutting-edge issues facing our existence today. This is already one of the most important events in the world and certainly, the most important in Latin America, and we want to discuss those challenges.”

Furthermore, the Senator stressed that “we have the opportunity to make Chile a strategic power for the planet. In other words, Chile can provide hydrogen to all of humankind and save the planet. We can generate green copper for energy transition and electromobility. We can provide food to a significant portion of the world’s population from our ocean. All this and more will be shown at the Congress of the Future.”

Science Minister Andrés Couve was pleased to report that starting next year an alliance will be created to provide a legal framework for the Ministry to fund the Congress of the Future, recognizing the historic role this event has played in bringing knowledge to society. In addition, he indicated that “at a time when we must respond to local and global challenges, we hope that this new edition of the Congress of the Future will continue to empower citizens through knowledge and encourage deeper thinking on how our country can devise its own path to sustainable, integral and inclusive development.”

Science Undersecretary Carolina Torrealba said that “it is an honor for Chile to once again organize an event with such worldwide recognition as the Congress of the Future.  This initiative welcomes the participation of great thinkers and will help us expand our horizons on cutting-edge issues and open doors so that everyone can empower themselves through science, technology, knowledge and innovation, through learning and reflection.”

Daniel Fernández, President of the Encuentros del Futuro Foundation, added that this new edition of the Congress of the Future will help us gain insight into our real adaptive capacity to live in a new era of challenges and possibilities posed by the modern world. “We want to address topics that make us rethink and strategize about how to act and co-create a future in the context of dizzying changes.”

The upcoming Congress of the Future, under the slogan “Learning to Live Together”, combines the needs and challenges that civil society must take into consideration when facing ever-changing circumstances. Encuentros del Futuro Foundation Executive Director Nicolás Fernández noted that this conference will be streamed, presented in a hybrid format, and free of charge to the entire community. “During the previous event, we interacted very successfully with the virtual audience, which we hope to be further strengthened this year. We are living at a key moment, where it is vital to listen to each other and decide how we are going to live together in a world that has shown its ability to change and challenge us every single day.”

Participants at this Congress of the Future will include experts such as the 2019 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Esther Duflo, who was recognized for her work on inequality within developing countries. She is the current director of the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Also participating will be notable presenters speaking on the challenges linked to Artificial Intelligence. Among them is technology specialist Nicolás Mialhe, co-founder of “The Future Society” and member of several international institutions dedicated to the ethical development of Artificial Intelligence and social wellbeing based on the technology’s application. He will be joined by Timnit Gebru, a computer scientist and leading researcher on ethics and algorithmic bias in AI. One of her areas of focus has been proving the presence of racism and sexism in digital platforms.

Also attending the Congress of the Future will be Gonzalo Moratorio, a Uruguayan virologist who created one of the first tests to detect the presence of COVID-19 in an organism. His work was recognized as one of Nature’s 10 by the prestigious scientific magazine, Nature. 

Speaking on climate change will be Ko Barret, an expert on climate policy and Vice President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Daniel Pauly, marine biologist and one of the most highly-regarded specialists in the world on maritime resources, will talk about his studies and share his views on threatened marine biodiversity. 

Amélie Kim Cheang, Executive Secretary of the Congress of the Future is responsible for conference programming. She explained that the goal of the upcoming edition “Learning to Live Together” is to gather details from different knowledge perspectives on how the world and societies change and, therefore, how best to address these changes. “The current program is based on thinking about the great challenges facing humanity and the planet, and especially on finding solutions and ways to tackle these major crises, these significant existential risks that we are experiencing today, such as climate change or the negative aspects of Artificial Intelligence,” she stated.

During this version of the Congress of the Future, a new day will be added to the familiar cycle of panels and talks by presenters from Chile and around the world. On the fifth day of the conference, an event titled “Digital Citizenship and Education for Female Empowerment” will be held. The idea behind this day is to generate a discussion on key issues such as digital citizenship and education for girls, adolescents and women in order to strengthen women’s autonomy and empowerment.

Congress of the Future in the regions

Parallel events will be simultaneously held in 10 regions of Chile during the upcoming Congress of the Future. Between January 17 and 21, presenters will visit the major centers of Chile. From Antofagasta in the north to Magallanes in the south, various talks will be given in tandem with the main event, covering pertinent topics. Senator Carolina Goic, a member of the Future Challenges Commission and a representative for Magallanes, where the CF 2022 will be held on Monday, January 17, stated that “the Congress of the Future invites us all, after emerging from the pandemic, to learn directly from the great men and women of science from across the globe.  Ten regions will participate in this Congress, which is why it is so important to take this opportunity and join together to form a different community that can build a better world for everyone.”

Francisco Chahuán, a senator on the Future Challenges Commission and representative for the Valparaíso Region, said that “we have been able to create an early awareness of science across Chile, which is fundamental. Our hope is that the Congress of the Future is regarded as a landmark. We have been working together for 11 years on the fourth most important scientific outreach event in the world, the only one created by a National Congress, absolutely free of charge that reaches every corner of the country.”

Likewise, the senator from the Maule region, Juan Antonio Coloma, noted that “this year’s event poses the question of how to live with nature, with ourselves and with the new issues coming our way, but also how to safeguard the essence of our nature as human beings. I hope that we are many, that we can all come together from different places, especially Chile’s regions, to reflect on how we can live together.”

The senator for Los Ríos Region, Alfonso de Urresti, said that the meetings held across Chile, especially the region he represents, will be undertaken in a collaborative fashion. “We have worked with the regional government, with the university, the scientific world, with the many young adults and creators who will be participating, with Nobel Prize winners and world-renowned scientists and thinkers who are dreaming about and studying the future. We will continue working to make science less centralized and to ensure that these types of events continue to be held across Chile.” 

This outreach event invites us to change course in terms of how we act, to relearn how to face the future after going through a pandemic, and find ways to live during a crisis and in an environment that is constantly under threat.