Asian Humanism Conference 2021

The 2021 Asian Humanism Conference (AHC) will be done online, one of the many solutions we have used to respond to the challenges introduced by the pandemic. Speaking of such challenges and solutions, it has become increasingly apparent that the values of humanism — reason, science, secularism, humanitarianism, among others — are needed if humanity is to not only survive but thrive in this new reality.

It is also becoming clear that to the extent such values are lacking (or actively suppressed) avoidable consequences happen: science denialism leads to health disinformation which leads to suffering and death; disrespecting secularism leads to civil and political rights violations; prioritizing partisan or corporate interests over human lives leads to marginalization.

Thus, the theme of this year’s conference is the Intersectionality of Humanism. How does humanism (its ideals and values, practitioners and practices) intersect with the different aspects of our lives, especially amid COVID-19? How can humanism — and humanists — contribute to solutions? And how can this be done at a time when fear increases prejudice which exacerbates anti-humanist sentiments, especially in conservative parts of the region?

The event will span three days in November: the 20th, the 27th, and the 28th. During these 3 days, talks, discussions, trainings, and other activities will aim to address the above issues.

Day 1

November 20 (SAT)
4pm-6pm PHT (UTC+08:00)

Status of Humanism in Asia

The first set of sessions opens AHC 2021.
AHC hosts introduce this year’s theme (Intersectionality of Humanism), as we hear Anya Overmann, President of Young Humanists International, share her thoughts on the topic. Through a panel discussion, we take stock of the status of humanism in the region to give us further context to frame the activities that follow. The panel includes representatives from the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.

Day 2

November 27 (SAT)
1pm-3pm PHT (UTC+08:00)

Intersectionality of Humanism

Day 2 gets into a number of topics, exploring the many intersections of humanism. A couple of talks start the day, from science and progressive issues with Guy P. Harrison, to secularism and human rights with Sen. Risa Hontiveros (to be confirmed), a legislator from the Philippines. Participants interact through Q&As with the speakers as well as breakout discussions. The day is capped with organisations hosting sessions on various themes: Humanism and Interfaith Relationships with hash.peace, Humanism and Science with MANS, and Humanism and Climate Change with HAPI.

Day 3

November 28 (SUN)
4pm-6pm PHT (UTC+08:00)

Capacity-building for Humanists

The final day focuses on more practical matters, with two of the most sought out skills for humanists (particularly in very conservative contexts). The first teaches participants about humanist and secular ceremonies, a workshop with Fraser Sutherland (Humanist Society Scotland) and Tale Pleym (Norwegian Humanist Association). The second gives an introduction to digital security for humanist advocates and activists, hosted by Red Tani, co-president of Filipino Freethinkers and advocacy and communications director of EngageMedia.

Our Hosts & Speakers

Kristine Chan

Filipino Freethinkers

Kristine Chan is a queer visual artist and designer from the Philippines, working on both digital and traditional mediums. They are the co-founder and President of FF.

Red Tani

Filipino Freethinkers

Red Tani has advocated critical thinking, evidence-based legislation, religious freedom, and other human rights since 2009 when he founded Filipino Freethinkers.

Danielle Hill

Filipino Freethinkers

Danielle Hill is an award-winning playwright and orator, an educator, and an aspiring feminist academic.

Guy P. Harrison

Author

Guy P. Harrison is an award-winning author, journalist, and public advocate for science and reason. He has more than 20 years’ experience in news media...

Sen. Risa Hontiveros [TBC]

Senate of the Philippines

Senator Risa Hontiveros is known for her tireless work in promoting public health, women's rights, and the welfare of the Filipino family.

Fraser Sutherland

Humanist Society Scotland

Fraser Sutherland is Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland a position he has held since May 2019.

Tale Pleym

Norwegian Humanist Association

Tale is a member of the Commission of European Humanist Professionals, and the Head of the Ceremonial Department at the Norwegian Humanist Association.

Giovanni Gaetani

Humanists International

Giovanni Gaetani is the Membership Engagement Management of Humanists International and started working for the organization in 2017.

Anya Overmann

Young Humanists International

Anya Overmann is President of Young Humanists International and has held multiple roles in the American Ethical Union, specifically in the youth section.

Abraham Mandac

Proactive Philippine Humanists (ProPH)

Abe is the chosen spokeperson for the Council of Philippine Secular Organizations (COPSO), a loose coalition of secular groups in the Philippines.

DJ Tan

HumanistSG

Ding Jie is the Young Humanists International Regional Coordinator for Asia, and Vice President of Humanist Society Singapore.

L

Malaysia Atheists and Secular Humanists

L is the current president of Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists (MASH). Due to security reasons, their identity has to be concealed.

Javan Poblador

Young Humanists International

Javan joined Humanists International as Young Humanists International Coordinator and Social Media Consultant in February 2021.

Nazhath Faheema

hash.peace

Nazhath Faheema is a social harmony activist. She is the Founder and President of hash.peace. She is engaged in conducting inter-ethnic and inter-belief interactions...

Ramdeo Vishwabandhu

Ambedkar Social Institute

Ramdeo Vishwabandhu serves as Secretary for the Ambedkar Social Institute. He has a post-graduate degree in Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies...

Rishvin Ismath

Council of Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka

Rishvin Ismath is the Co-founder and present Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka. He is also a referee for the Sri Lankan Rugby Union.

Sudesh Ghoderao

Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations

Dr. Sudesh Ghoderao is the National General Secretary of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA) and the Secretary for International Cooperation at MANS...

Uttam Niraula

Society for Humanism (SOCH) Nepal

Uttam Niraula is a board member of Humanists International, a founding member of the YHI Asian Regional Committee, and founded the Society for Humanism (SOCH) Nepal...