17 November 2011Philosophy, the exercise of critical thought and freedom of expression, is vital in the search for lasting responses to the challenges of peace and development, a top United Nations official stated as the world body marked this year’s World Philosophy Day. “The practice of philosophy is a process benefiting the whole of society. It helps to build bridges between peoples and cultures and heightens demand for quality education for all,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).“Philosophy encourages respect for cultural diversity, exchanging opinions and sharing the benefits of science, which are the conditions for genuine debate,” she added in her message for the Day, which has been celebrated every third Thursday of November since 2002. Ms. Bokova pointed to the dramatic changes that have been sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East this year as people took to the streets demanding fundamental freedoms and spurring revolutions that brought down decades-old regimes.“The extraordinary exuberance of the Arab Spring invites each one of us, whether participants in or spectators of these events, to ponder the meaning of history, social justice, gender equality and fundamental freedoms.”She also noted that several large-scale disasters, particularly the earthquake followed by a tsunami and nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, have emphasized the powerful relevance of questions on the place of humans in nature.“All of these events call on us to bolster our efforts to provide everyone, the young and the less young alike, with the means for understanding our rapidly changing societies,” said Ms. Bokova.UNESCO wishes to “rally the whole human sciences community to whet their appetite for philosophy,” even among the very young, she stated, adding that initiatives for children’s philosophical practice offer real opportunities for educational progress and deserve attention.The Day is being celebrated with a number of events taking place at the agency’s Paris headquarters, as well as events around the world, including symposia, book fairs, children’s philosophy workshops and debates.Among the events in Paris is the Third Assembly of the International Network of Women Philosophers, which was founded in 2007 under the auspices of UNESCO. During the conference, the first issue of the online Women Philosophers’ Journal will be launched.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt commented, “This is an extremely exciting time to be working in the UK motor industry, whether it’s in design, development and manufacture or retail, service and repair. The shift to ultra-low carbon technology is bringing significant change and attracting the highest calibre of people is the only sure way to promote and strengthen our sector in the years ahead. SMMT is committed to sustaining a vibrant UK motor industry that offers high value jobs and exciting careers. We are pleased to be working with Autocar and Courland to help identify the next generation of automotive leaders.” SMMT is working with Autocar magazine as it issues a UK-wide call for undergraduate students to enter its 2010 Next Generation Award. The aim of the award is to identify and inspire the automotive industry leaders of tomorrow and assist them with their careers. The award is open to undergraduates from any British university and was launched last year to high industry acclaim. Candidates must provide a plausible written answer to a tough industry-related question and survive a Dragons’ Den-style panel interview. The winner will be announced at the SMMT Annual Dinner at The London Hilton on Park Lane on Tuesday 23 November.They will receive a £7,500 cash prize and an extensive programme of work experience provided by the award’s blue-chip sponsors: Honda UK, the Marshall Motor Group, Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz Retail and Toyota GB. Five runners-up will receive comprehensive career advice and guidance, networking opportunities and further assistance with work experience. “We were delighted with the quality of the entrants last year and we’re expecting even more this year,” said Steve Cropley, Autocar editor-in-chief. “The automotive business – especially in Britain – is a fantastic place to launch a career. It needs huge quantities of the very qualities young people have to offer: energy and fresh thinking.” Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)