News & events


1st World Social Science Forum

09 May 2009

Hosted by :

International Social Science Council

Start :

09 May 2009

End :

13 May 2009

Location :

Bergen, Norway


Professor Jon Elster, Columbia University and Collège de France,  Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Rajendra Pachauri, The Chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


World Social Science Forum:  One Planet – Worlds Apart?


The ISSC has undertaken to regularly organise a World Social Science Forum (WSSF). These events will bring together major stakeholders in international social science co-operation to discuss substantive topics of world relevance and priorities for the future of international social science. They will stimulate dialogue across the disciplines, connect research and practice, and provide a platform for debate, exchange of experiences, innovative ideas and good practices.

“Although WSSF may seem a long way off, your diary setting for 2009 in the next few months will affect the success of the Forum, ” says secretary general Heide Hackmann. “Please plan your meetings to not clash with participation at the WSSF and also consider holding your meetingss at Bergen, in the wings of the World Forum.”

“Please also circulate to your networks as soon as possible, the details of WSSF.”

This information is available in the following downloadable documents:

WSSF circular to ISSC members, and

 WSSF summary letter to all ISSC members (update and request for urgent action).

The “red alert” captured succinctly the key reasons why the WSSF deserves priority:

1. As a rich intellectual wellspring:

  • Social science will be examined across the many disciplinary and inter-science boundaries
  • Several of the World’s leading thinkers will present their latest thinking
  • The crucial issue for the Social Sciences is in focus: Whither Social Science in the 21st Century?
  • Social Science’s engagement with the current “powers that be” (both government and business) across a wide range of pressing human and social issues will be a major theme.

2. As a unique networking opportunity:

  • It’s a World-Wide networking opportunity, across many boundaries
  • It’s a showcase opportunity, on a world stage, for ISSC members
  • It’s a very practical opportunity to “piggy-back” own-discipline activities onto a high-level, cross-disciplinary gathering, at little additional cost.

The Intellectual Content


There will be 3 formats for pre-organised intellectual inputs:

Plenary Sessions will feature invited speakers of the highest intellectual calibre, world thought-leaders in their own fields and across disciplinary boundaries.  Acceptances to date include Amartya Sen, Jon Elster and Rajendra Pachauri.

Parallel Sessions will each feature panels of  3 – 5 eminent scholars or practitioners with varying perspectives on highly-relevant topics. ISSC members will be involved in the organization, sponsorship, and management of these sessions. A list of the proposed topics can be found here . ISSC-linked bodies wishing to participate in the generation of these sessions are being asked to declare an interest to the ISSC without delay.

Exhibits will be in various forms, including numerous Scholarly poster displays, ISSC member-body self-exhibits concerning their current work, and an update on progress with the World Social Science Report. The organization of this dimension of the Forum will begin in September.

A list of the proposed topics can be found here.

All practical information about the 2009 WSSF can be found on the WSSF website at