Alma Mater Europaea is known for its world-class conferences. Among the leading scholars who have spoken at Alma Mater conferences are reknowned economist Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, Harvard Law School professor Mark Tushnet, Oxford professor Jacob Rowbottom, German political scientist Werner Weidenfeld, who is also the rector of Alma Mater Europaea, the Alma Mater president and cardiac surgeon Felix Unger, the Facebook and Instagram Oversight Board member and former European Court of Human Rights vice-president Andras Sajo, David Erdos of Cambridge, the Constitutional Court judge Klemen Jaklic, who lectured at Harvard for seven years before joining Alma Mater, and philosophers Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Srećko Horvat.
Alma Mater Europaea and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts from Salzburg, which brings together 2,000 scientists, including 34 Nobel laureates, hosted the eight-day 11th “It’s About People” conference in Maribor in 2023.
Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University and one of the world’s most influential economists and global planners of sustainable development, spoke about the geopolitics of a changing world. In his keynote address at the conference, he also focused on the war in Ukraine: “This war is extremely destructive, and its escalation it’s getting very dangerous. It’s time to get back to the negotiations. This war may end, but NATO must stop the idea of expanding into Ukraine and Georgia. This is provocative and thoughtless. The core of this war is an indirect fight between the US and Russia. The solution is to make an agreement. No NATO expansion. This is how Russia stops the war, and we get peace.”
The conference ranks among the top scientific conferences in the world and represents one of the most important international events of its kind in Europe. It’s held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Nataša Pirc Musar, who marked the opening of the conference with the words: “Security is a fundamental human right, whether national security or individual security. It protects us from human rights violations, disease, natural disasters, poverty, etc. Moreover, it ensures the well-being of both individuals and communities in all aspects of our lives. Security allows all of us – including state bodies and institutions, non-governmental organisations, and civil society – to exchange our knowledge and experience and to collaborate.”
Europe’s scientific and artistic leaders and scholars will search for answers to the challenges of social and technological development so that it serves humanity with security and dignity. “During the conference, researchers are presenting their achievements to the world and thought leaders from various disciplines are discussing global trends with our professors and students. The message of this year’s conference is that we are all responsible for ensuring that social and technological development does not infringe our safety ordignity,” emphasised the president of Alma Mater Europaea – ECM Ludvik Toplak.
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Igor Papič pointed out that: “Without an interdisciplinary approach, we cannot ensure the successful implementation of ideas in society. Without technicians and natural scientists, there will be no new technology, and without humanists and social scientists, such advances will not be accepted by society. Technological and social development have always been linked, but never before have they progressed so rapidly. Both aspects must be as coordinated as possible. Only in this way will society and technology develop in a positive direction. The topic of the conference is, therefore, extremely important.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the crises related to the war in Ukraine demonstrated that policymakers need access to timely and high-quality scientific advice. Two advisory groups of the European Commission, the EU Mechanism for Scientific Advice and the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, have recently published recommendations on improving strategic crisis management in the EU. Together with the European Parliament and the member states, we are ready to deepen the inter-institutional dialogue, which includes the research community and our citizens,” emphasized the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.
Leading foreign and domestic researchers and leaders of scientific associations will evaluate recent research in various fields, including artificial intelligence and the dangers it can pose to human relations, rights, freedom and democracy. Emeritus Professor Klaus Mainzer, President of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, emphasised that “Europe must become independent through digital transformation and sustainable innovation and a champion of modernisation. The current politico-military crisis is an opportunity to speed up this process.”
On this occasion, Alma Mater Europaea – ECM awarded honorary doctorates to Jeffrey Sachs for his outstanding contributions to the development of economic science and sustainable development with a global perspective and for his contribution to the development of the socio-economic transition of the Republic of Slovenia; Sonia Ehrlich Sachs for her outstanding contribution to health, for strengthening humanitarian relations and for the sustainable development of paediatrics and public health; and Felix Unger, Honorary President of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, for his outstanding achievements in medicine and humanism and for his academic and organisational contribution to the development of Alma Mater Europaea – ECM.