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 all pre-congress activites and parallel sessions Friday and Saturday will open on 3 May.

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

Register for the congress here


Monday 31 July

1130-1400 Trip to Refshaleøen:
Refshaleøen is a former industrial district with a bustling culture, art and dining scene. Eat lunch at the large Streetfood market Reffen. Take a swim in the harbour. Meeting place: The Harbour Bus terminal 'Nordre Toldbod (Københavns Havn)

Tuesday 1 August

1400> Trip to Freetown Christiania:
From squatted military buildings to a collectively controlled community. The story of Christinia is the history of a democratic experiment. Christinia is a village in Copenhagen with a unique decision making proces. We will have a guided tour with one of the locals (called christianit) starting with an introduction to the background and history of the freetown.

1800-2000 Social Dining in the Community House:
Join the social dining at our Community House, Kulturhuset Union, Nørre Allé 7. You pay yourself - but we have negotiated a modest price of 65 DKK for a meal. The menu is middle-eastern and vegetarian.

Wednesday 2 August

1000-1400 Guided tour: Working class history at Nørrebro:
A guided tour around Nørrebro and the Workers' museum with a focus on the story of the working class in Copenhagen

1300-1430 Guided city tour through Danish LGBTI+ history:
On this guided tour around central Copenhagen we will visit some of the places where Danish (and international!) LGBTI+ history was made, and discover 150 years of queer life in Copenhagen.

1730-1930 Social Dining in the Community House:
oin the social dining at our Community House, Kulturhuset Union, Nørre Allé 7. You pay yourself - but we have negotiated a modest price of 65 DKK for a meal. The menu is middle-eastern and vegetarian.

2000-2130 Screening: The Art of Resistance & QA:
Watch the documentary The Art of Resistance and participate in the following Q&A with the director and artist Victoria Gugenheim. Victoria will be a resident artist at the World Humanist Congress 2023.

Thursday 3 August

0900-1600 European Humanist Professionals (EHP) training seminar:
This practical and hands-on day will consist of the sharing of best practice from European Humanist Professionals working in the fields of education, ceremonies and chaplaincy and will allow delegates to experience and explore humanist services in action. Location: Kulturhuset Union, Nørre Allé 7. Read more.

1800-2000 Social Dining in the Community House:
oin the social dining at our Community House, Kulturhuset Union, Nørre Allé 7. You pay yourself - but we have negotiated a modest price of 65 DKK for a meal. The menu is middle-eastern and vegetarian.

1800-2000 Humanists International General Assembly, part 1:
Register here for the General Assembly. Location: Scandic Hotel Copenhagen

2000-2130 Social Quiz:
Participate in a social quiz and get to know other humanists at our Community House on Nørrebro.



Friday 4 August

0800-0915: Registration at the conference hotel, Scandic Hotel Copenhagen

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. Chair: Roslyn Mould, former president of the Humanist Association of Ghana and board member of Humanists International. 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: Art as an indicator of freedom of expression:
    Art sparks controversy and faces restrictions all over the world. Does artistic freedom function as a valuable indicator of the degree of freedom of expression? Or should art better be mainly appreciated on its own merits? With: Lusine Djanyan (Pussy Riot), Ivor Stodolsky and Victoria Gugenheim.
  • Parallel 2: Challenges to democracy in Africa south of the Sahara:
    How can humanists contribute to fight oppression and develop democratic norms? Case stories, analysis and discussion. With: Leo Igwe, Gyekye Tanoh and Alex Kofi Donkor
  • Parallel 3: Why don´t humanists care more about climate change?
  • How can we address climate change as humanists? How can humanist organizations do climate projects? Check out successes and challenges in humanist climate work. With: David Pineda and more
  • Parallel 4: Girl Power: Women and Democracy:
    Gender equality is a core tenet of democracy. How should we improve it? There will be a keynote and a participatory workshop focused on sharing experiences using tools on active listening. With: Katrín Oddsdóttir and Inga Straumland.
  • Parallel 5: Will we make room for young humanists?:
    How can humanists be better at including young people? Interviews with young active humanists followed by panel and group discussions. With: Ana Raquel Aquino Smith and more
  • Parallel 6: Technology should be shaped by humans, not the other way around:
    What´s happening with AI these days? How can we make sure humans are in charge of technology? Check out the Digital Humanism initiative. Keynote, panel and discussion. With: Erich Prem, Brit Ross Winthereik, Alexander Schmölz

1500-1530: Break with coffee/tea

1530-1630: Regional parallel sessions
Common theme: What are the shared challenges and possibilities for cooperation in the region?

    • 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

1730-1900: Guided walk in Copenhagen City Hall
Visit Copenhagen City Hall before the welcome reception and hear the history of it's significance in the development of the Danish state.

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: On democracy and humanism. Main speaker: Wondeŕful Mkhutche, author, political science scholar and president of Humanists Malawi. Comments by Dr. Sudesh Ghoderao (National General Secretary of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations) and one more TBA.

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? Main speaker: Oleksandra Romantsova, executive director of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, Nobel peace prize laureate 2022. Second speaker: Remus Cernea, journalist reporting from Ukraine for the Romanian edition of Newsweek.

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:
    We try to identify some of the obstacles queer people face in different parts of the world, but also take a look at what unites us, and how we, as humanists, can empower queer people and protect their rights. With: Justice Okai-Allotey (he/him) and Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir (she/they)
  • Parallel 2: How the death penalty leads to brutal suppression of atheism and free speech in Iran
    In May this year, two people were executed for "blasphemy" in Iran. Last year, the country killed 582 people for various offences, a 75% increase compared to the previous year. How do atheists and the opposition in Iran relate to the brutal suppression they live under, and how does this play out in other muslim majority countries? Speakers: Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam (director of Iran Human Rights) and Zara Kay (founder of Faithless Hijabi).
  • Parallel 3: How should we respond to the growth of the non-religious?
    Secularism is on the rise in the western world. What is happening? Why does it happen? How does it affect democracy? And what opportunities does it leave for the humanist movement? With: Lois Lee and Atko Remmel. Comments by Lone Ree Milkær (Humanists International) and Adrián Núñez Ferdmann (Secular Humanist Society of Peru).
  • Parallel 4: The threat to democracy from conspiracy thinking:
    Conspiracy thinking is undermining democracy. What´s happening, and what can we do about it? With: Hulda Thorisdottir, Didrik Søderlind and Ariel Pontes
  • Parallel 5: Lifestance dialogue as a tool for democracy:
    Dialogue is the best solution for nearly any kind of tension and conflict. How do humanists engage? We hear presentations of cases followed by questions and discussion. With: Robert Hamilton (Canada) Lars-Petter Helgestad and Bente Sandvig (Norway), Uttam Niraula (Nepal), and Jeremy Rodell (UK).
  • Parallel 6: Humanist confirmations as democratic building blocks:

    Case stories from the Nordics. Moderator Kolbrún Ósk Pétursdóttir (Iceland)

1500-1530: Break with coffee/tea

1530-1700: Parallel sessions

  • Parallel 1: Religious intolerance in India:
    How hindu nationalist ideology suppresses human rights, free speech and liberal values in India. With: Babu Gogineni and Vikas Gora
  • Parallel 2: Empowering online communication
    Workshop with Danish social media company Cybernauterne.
    The workshop seeks to strengthen the knowledge, skills, and tools that participants have available when using online platforms. The goal is to develop effective ways of grabbing attention and inspiring engagement while remaining mindful of necessary safety precautions to handle possible risks of backlash that participants might encounter in their cultural context.
  • Parallel 3: Democratic backsliding - Case stories (Poland, Sweden, Brazil, The Philippines)
    The pillars of democracy are undermined in many countries. How can humanists counter the threat? With: Nina Sankari, David Ronnegard and more
  • Parallel 4: Humanist Confirmation in practice in the Nordics
    The Nordic countries have a strong tradition for Humanist Confirmations. Learn more about it! Workshop with volunteers from Humanistisk Samfund (Danish Humanist Society)
  • Parallel 5: Social entrepreneurship as a democratic tool:
    How can you build a humanist movement from the bottom? Learn from someone who did: Urtė Žukauskaitė-Zabukė and Gerda Surgautaitė from Lithuania
  • Parallel 6: Freedom of Thought Report and Humanists at Risk:
    Learn how Humanists International fights oppression on the individual as well as the national and global level. With: Emma Wadsworth-Jones

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). After that: On stage conversation with Nazila Ghanea and Abid Raja, led by Elizabeth O´Casey, Director of Advocacy, Humanists International

1115-1145: Break with coffee/tea

1145-1300: 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)
  • Oleksandra Romantsova, executive director of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, Nobel peace prize laureate 2022.
  • Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of Iran Human Rights.
  • Zara Kay, founder of Faithless Hijabi.

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.

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

3 May:
Registration starts for pre-congress events and parallel sessions

31 July - 3 August:
Pre-congress activities

4-6 August
World Humanist Congress 2023