On the weekend of 12-14 May 2011, the Steering Committee, the Scientific Committee and the Outreach Committee held a meeting chaired by the Executive Director Benno Werlen in Jena, the City of Science. In his welcome address Christoph Matschie, the State’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture, welcomed the scientists who hailed from all five continents. He particularly emphasised the initiative’s importance for intercultural understanding in a world in which we are all dependent on mutual cooperation and learning. He especially emphasised the number of challenges, such as hunger, climate change, sustainability and illiteracy, that can only be tackled globally.
The participants at the meeting identified another key IYGU point and satisfied another requirement: A binding scientific programme was completed that is based on the guidelines for the 2014 UN theme year drafted in Weimar at the beginning of March. Both the Outreach Programme draft and the brochure draft have been completed, which will facilitate the application process towards the final UNESCO decision.

Decisive stimuli were received for the drafting of the scientific and outreach programmes – based on critical reflection of the guidelines drafted at the Weimar meeting –, particularly from the conference reports received from diverse fields such as national economy, geodesy and geophysics, sociology, solid state chemistry, nutritional sciences, social and cultural geography, physical geography, educational science, geology, linguistics, philosophy, archaeology and environmental sciences. These contributions and the subsequent substantial discussions offered the points of departure for the drafting of the programme brochure. The members responsible for the respective main subjects were identified, as was the constitution of the task forces. These members and task forces will submit their first results by the end of June 2011.

Besides the official support that the International Social Science Council (ISSC) – the social sciences’ global umbrella association – has provided, the CIPSH – the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies – has now also pledged its support.