The idea of initiating a joint IIAS-ZiF endeavor began in March 2013, at the UBIAS (University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study) conference in Jerusalem. It took another two and a half years until the idea of pairing ZiF and the IIAS became a reality. When, in our discussions, the concept of “human dignity” first arose, it was immediately clear to both of us that we could not imagine something more appropriate for both Israel and Germany. The more we thought about it, the more we realized that there has not been, in the past few years, a day when the concept of human dignity has not been at the center of news events across the globe.

From the outset it was clear that, with ZiF (Bielefeld) and the IIAS (Jerusalem, The Edmond J. Safra Campus of The Hebrew University) joining together, Israel and Germany would be bringing their own unique sensibilities to this area  of  inquiry.  Both  countries  have  struggled  to  define  the  parameters  of  human dignity, from the purely theoretical aspects to the reality of facts on the ground which cannot be ignored and should be addressed. Topics on slavery, the issue of refugees, and respecting the rights of citizens / gender / freedom of thought, have always been part of the narrative of human history. The balance of power between legal, political and governmental authorities and the individuals living under those authorities, has always been a delicate one, vulnerable to abuse. It is a balance which needs to be continually redefined.

At the end of an interesting year of preparation, we are delighted to now welcome you as participants in this wonderful endeavor. Your scholarship, expertise and your personal experience will all be brought to bear in a series of master classes that will touch on many important issues, among them the philosophy of human dignity, the impact of canonical texts on the evolution of human dignity, and the legalization of human rights. While we are all equally committed to the study of human dignity, each phase of the International Academia will remain autonomous. The entire impact of the Academia will only be felt at the close of the second session, in Bielefeld.

We appreciate the dedication and commitment of our instructors and fellows to ensure that this event will not remain within the boundaries of theory, but will also have the ability to make a difference.

For information about the 1st Intercontinental Academia; An Interdisciplinary Collaborative Study on Time, please see: intercontinental-academia.ubias.net