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Humanism and Resilience

European Humanist Federation Conference 2012

The EHF conference will this year be in Utrecht, Netherlands, on 25-27 May.  Under the title "Humanism and Resilience" we will explore how Humanism can help us in our everyday lives as citizens.  The conference, organised by our Dutch hosts, the Humanist Association and the Humanist Alliance, will follow the annual General Assembly on Friday 25 May.

Today we are all exposed to media hype, political populism and a great variety of other such pervasive influences. Not only that, but economic instability is creating a general sense of insecurity in Europe. The result is widespread disenchantment with politics. All this poses a serious threat to to vital human values, such as freedom, responsibility, solidarity, and even human dignity. To avoid being swept away by such trends people need resilience.

Why resilience? The Dutch founding father of contemporary Humanism, Jaap van Praag, had a vision of a Humanism that could deliver the building blocks for a resilient lifestance. He saw it as his mission to shape Humanism so that it could empower people and make them resilient against unthinking conformity and against nihilism.

To be resilient means to be able to think for yourself and to resist peer pressure.

Resilience comes not from cutting yourself off from such influences but from having the capacity and the freedom to respond to them – while recognizing that in fact you are always influenced by others and the culture you live in.

During the conference, helped by a series of expert speakers, we will explore the importance of resilience from different angles in interactive sessions. You will interact, participate and be inspired. The programme will appeal to members of the EHF and its member organisations, to all humanist professionals, such as counsellors and teachers, and to people whose interest in humanism is more general.

EHF General Assembly

The General Assembly will be held on Friday 25 May in the usual two sessions, but this year the formal meeting will be in the morning and the informal Open Meeting in the afternoon.

9 am – 12.30 pm: General Assembly

This is technically only for representatives of EHF member organisations and for individual EHF members, but in fact any member of an EHF member organisation is welcome.  It will receive the annual report and accounts, approve the budget and working plans, elect new board members and conduct other business.

Lunch break

2 pm – 5 pm: Open meeting

This informal meeting is for all members of EHF and its member organisations.  There will be more detailed reports on some of the EHF’s work and short reports from member organisations on what they have been doing.  If your organisation would like to offer a report, please email us at admin@humanistfederation.eu.

Member organisations will be sent details of the meetings and all the papers through the ehffhemo Yahoo e-forum. Please check that your representation on ehffhemo is up to date and that your representatives pass on all the details.

European Humanist Professionals programme

Parallel to the General Assembly there is the possibility for professionals to visit Dutch humanist professionals at their workplace. The European Humanist Professionals (EHP) in cooperation with the Dutch Humanist Alliance organized these visits. The visits will be held before the opening of the conference, so you will be able to attend the keynote and the rest of the conference programme.

The first part of the day, there will be two groups. One group can visit the ‘University Medical Centre’ (UMC), which has between 15000 and 19000 visitors every day and about 11000 employees. The visit will be to the department of ‘life-orientation and spiritual care’. The second group can visit the training centre for Humanistic Educators. Both visits will be followed by a lunch.

The second part of the day the groups will join and there will be a visit to the Humanistic Department at the Armed Forces, where you will learn about missions and counseling in specific army situations. After the visit the Department will organize a three-course dinner.

We would also like to emphasize that during the weekend, the University of Humanistic Studies, which is unique in Europe, will also be open for further introduction.

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