The program is under construction and subject to change right up to the start of the congress. Details are continuously added as we close new deals with speakers and participants.

Registration for parallel sessions Friday and Saturday will open on 23 April.

The congress will take place at Scandic Copenhagen Hotel, centrally located in the Danish capital.

Register for the congress here

31 July - 2 August: Pre-congress activities

On the days leading up to the congress (Monday-Thursday), there will be various activities centered around Kulturhuset Union at Nørre Allé 7.

Among the activities will be:

  • Visit to Copenhagen Street Food, Reffen
  • Organized morning and evening swimming in the harbour
  • Sightseeing and city walk centered on Copenhagen´s LGBTQ-history
  • Visit to Johan Borups højskole
  • Visit to “Freetown Christiania
  • City walk and trip to Arbejdermuseet
  • Organized trip to Malmø, Sweden (across the Øresund bridge)

More details around this program to be announced.

Thursday 3 August 23

0900-1600: European Humanist Professionals (EHP) training seminar.

1900-2200: Humanists International General Assembly, part 1. Register here for the General Assembly

Friday 4 August 23

0930-1045: Plenary: Opening ceremony with Sandi Toksvig, Thorbjørn Jagland, Andrew Copson and more.

1115-1215: Plenary: Keynote speech: “Threats to Democracy” by Sofia Näsström, professor political science Uppsala university, Sweden. Comments by Nicole Carr, CEO of the American Humanist Association and David Pineda, founder and president of Humanistas Guatemala and board member of Humanists International.

1215-1330: Standing Lunch with Poster session

1330-1500: Parallel sessions

    • Parallel 1: Freedom of expression
    • Parallel 2: Challenges to democracy in Africa south of the Sahara
    • Parallel 3: How can and why should humanist organizations do climate projects?
    • Parallel 4: Girl Power: Women and Democracy
    • Parallel 5: Young Humanists International workshop
    • Parallel 6: Digital humanism initiative. Talk, panel and workshop. With: Erich Prem and Alexander Schmoelz

1500-1530: Break with coffee/tea

1530-1630: Regional parallel sessions

    • Parallel 1: Africa & Middle East
    • Parallel 2: North America
    • Parallel 3: Europe
    • Parallel 4: Asia
    • Parallel 5: Latin America and the Caribbean
    • Parallel 6: Australia, New Zealand and Pacific-Islands

1630-1900: Free time. Plans for a guided walk in Copenhagen City Hall

1900-2100: Welcome reception at Copenhagen City Hall

Saturday 5 August 23

0800-0930: Optional program: Morning bath in the harbour or a group walk/run around the Copenhagen lakes (around 6 km)

0930-1030: Plenary: Humanist confirmations as democratic building blocks. Case stories from the Nordics.

1030-1100: Plenary speech “On hope” by philosopher Lars Fredrik Svendsen (Norway).

1100-1130: Break with coffee/tea

1130-1145: Plenary: Presentation of Congress Resolution

1145-1230: Plenary: How can the outside world help rebuild and strengthen Ukrainian democracy after the war? Speakers: Romanian journalist based in Ukraine Remus Cernea. More to be announced.

1230-1330: Standing Lunch with Poster session

1330-1500: Parallel sessions

    • Parallel 1: The Rainbow Resistance - humanism and democracy as tools to promote LGBTQIA+ rights.
    • Parallel 2: Humanist advocacy
    • Parallel 3: The growth of Humanists and nones. With: Lois Lee (UK) and Atko Remmel (Estonia)
    • Parallel 4: The threat to democracy from conspiracy thinking. With: Hulda Thorisdottir (Iceland). Comments by Didrik Søderlind (Norway) and Ariel Pontes (Brazil).
    • Parallel 5: Lifestance dialogue as a tool for democracy. Presentation of cases. Questions and discussion.
    • Parallel 6: Workshop: Confirmation in practice. With volunteers from the Danish Humanist Association.

1500-1530: Break with coffee/tea

1530-1700: Parallel sessions

    • Parallel 1: Democracy and Religious Intolerance in India. With: Leena Manimekalai (main speaker), Babu Gogineni and Vikas Gora
    • Parallel 2: Workshop on social media and democracy. With Danish social media company Cybernauterne
    • Parallel 3: Democratic backsliding in countries like Poland, Brazil, Hungary, the USA and more.
    • Parallel 4: Anti-LGBT+ conspiracy theories
    • Parallel 5: Workshop on social entrepreneurship as a democratic tool. With Urtė Žukauskaitė-Zabukė and Gerda Surgautaitė (Lithuania)
    • Parallel 6: Workshop: Freedom of thought report and Humanists at Risk.

1700-1900: Free time

1900: Congress dinner and Humanists International awards ceremony
The congress dinner is held at congress venue. Price for registered congress participants: DKK 100. Accompanying guests are also welcome. Price per external guest: DKK 495. The package price includes 3 course dinner and 2 glasses of wine and coffee.

Sunday 6 August 23

0800-0930: Optional program: Morning bath in the harbour or a group walk/run around the Copenhagen lakes (around 6 km)

0930-1100: Plenary: Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB). Keynote speeches by Nazila Ghanea (UN Special Rapporteur on FoRB) and Abid Raja (Chair and founding member of IPPFoRB). Interviews with Leena Manimekalai and one more (to be announced).

1100-1130: Break with coffee/tea

1130-1200: Plenary: On stage conversation with Nazila Ghanea and Abid Raja. Host: Elizabeth O´Casey

1200-1300: Closing plenary session with artist in residence, concluding remarks and announcement of the next World Humanist Congress.

1300-1400: Lunch to go

1400-1900: Humanists International General Assembly, part 2

Register for the congress here


The theme of the 2023 congress is "Building Better Democracies Through Humanist Values". Democracy is one of the core values of humanism. These are the very first words of Humanist International's Minimum Statement: "Humanism is a democratic, non-theistic, and ethical life stance". 

Democracy is threatened on many fronts in the world today. We will examine some of the threats but first and foremost we will focus on how humanist values and practices can contribute to building and supporting strong and well-functioning democracies. 

Among our speakers are:

Sandi Toksvig, Danish-British women's rights and LGBTQ+ activist, and prominent writer, comedian and broadcaster on British radio, stage and television, known from QI and The Great British Bake Off.
Nazila Ghanea, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief and Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Kellogg College.
Abid Raja, Chair of the steering group of The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB). Member of the Norwegian Parliament and former minister of culture.
Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe 2009 – 2019, former prime minister of Norway, president of the Norwegian parliament, and leader of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee.
Lars-Fr. H. Svendsen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bergen, whose books are translated into 30 languages. In 2022 he received the prestigious German Philosophical Book Award for A Philosophy of Loneliness. 
Hulda Thorisdottir, Associate Professor in the Psychology and Political Science Departments at the University of Iceland. Political psychologist who studies conspiracy theories.
Sofia Näsström, professor political science Uppsala universitet, Sweden. Author of "The Spirit of Democracy: Corruption, Disintegration, Renewal" (Oxford University Press 2021)
Leena Manimekalai, Indian filmmaker, poet and an actor. She has been charged in India for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.

There will be a long list of other speakers and panelists from within and outside of the humanist movement, including Andrew Copson, Elizabeth O'Casey, Trond Enger, Lois Lee, Babu Gogineni, Vikas Gora, and many others, waiting to be confirmed. 

Though humanists have met online and on regional and local levels since 2014, this is the first time in nine years, since Oxford in 2014, we come together as a movement. We need to consolidate ourselves in a changing world. And we need a humanist conversation on who we are going to be as a movement in the world of today – and tomorrow. 

Thus we have made it a priority of the congress to mainly use speakers from within the movement – to facilitate that humanist conversation, and to reacquaint us as a global movement with at least some of the aspects that make us who we are. 

We comply with Humanist International´s event policies. Read about them here.

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5 December:
Registration starts

30 January:
Deadline for applications for travel grants

28 February:
Discounted early registration (early bird) ends

1 April:
Deadline for cancellations with refund

1 June:
Pre-registration for program items

31 June-3 August:
Pre-congress activities

4-6 August
World Humanist Congress 2023