HAPI Leaders Join the World’s Largest Humanist Conferences

Posted by Contributor | Posted on June 23, 2022

HAPI Leaders Join the World’s Largest Humanist Conferences

By Mary Jane Valenzuela
HAPI Chief Financial Officer

Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) was thrilled to join not one but two major humanist conferences this past June 2022.

The first was with Humanist Society Scotland in its first-ever International Humanist Conference last June 4. A day before the conference, the Scottish organization arranged a meet-and-greet dinner for the international delegates at the Mackintosh in Glasgow, where welcome drinks and a selection of scrumptious canapes were served. Later that evening, Young Humanists International conducted a fun and mind-stimulating Games Night hosted by Javan Lev Poblador, HAPI CEO and Young Humanists International Coordinator.

Photo | Young Humanists International

“Over 40 young humanists from around the world joined us at Games Night 3.0! This is the first time Young Humanists International has met in person since the pandemic started. Thank you to all those who made our night enjoyable and memorable!”

Young Humanists International

Then came the day of the conference itself. The event took place at the Sir Charles Wilson Building which forms part of the University of Glasgow. The whole day featured a range of cultural and intellectual experiences. 

The conference theme was as follows:

In the wake of the seismic changes brought about across the world by the pandemic, the worrying rise in anti-science rhetoric, the rise of fake news and tweeting politicians, and the climate emergency that remains largely unaddressed, we ask:

“Is it time for a new enlightenment, and what role should humanism play?”

– Humanist Society Scotland

The talks featured the following topics:

Opinion vs. Facts (Why Evidence Matters)

Speaker: Brian Eggo, President of Glasgow Skeptics
Panel: Dr. Maegan Crawford, Sofia Sintoris, and Dr. Thomas Lindley)

The Arts and Freedom of Expression | Does Censorship in the Arts Ever Support Democracy and Human Rights?

Speaker: Terry Anderson
Panel: Professor Magie Kinloch, Elizabeth O’Casey, and Dr. Matthew McVarish

Open Minds, Open Borders

Speaker: David Pineda, Roza Salih
Panel: Tony Khan, Roslyn Mould, and Mary McKay

How Universal Are Our Human Rights – Imprisonment of Mubarak Bala

Speaker: Leo Igwe, Emma Wadsworth-Jones
Panel: Anna Raquel Aquino-Smith, Andrew Copson, and Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The panelists tackled different issues humanists struggle with every day, from identifying fake news, opening borders to refugees, discussing the latter’s lives in the settlements, and the universality of our human rights. Human rights, they suggested, are universal in principle but not enforceable in practice.

Highlights of the Conference

Roza Salih and Her Journey as an Asylum Seeker

Roza Salih is a human rights activist, Scottish politician, and co-founder of Glasgow Girls.

This moment was a tearjerker: asylum-seekers do not run away from their country to leave the land where they were born, they flee because of the violence, corruption, cartels, and poverty. Yet when they arrived in the countries that gave them sanctuary, they were treated differently and were not given the right to work, study, or health care. Why punish these people who simply seek safety? Why the victims instead of the abusers?

Imprisonment of Mubarak

Mubarak Bala was a Nigerian atheist and the president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria.

Bala renounced Islam in 2014 and effectively became a marked man. He was accused by authorities of corrupting the faith and was arrested six weeks after his son was born. Humanists International launched a robust campaign to free Mubarak, one of many cases taken on by the organization. After being denied access to lawyers, eight more charges were leveled against him before finally being sentenced to 24 years in prison last April.


The Gala Dinner after the Conference

The gala dinner took place at the Grosvenor Hotel. It was a delight for the HAPI leaders to meet fellow humanists from around the globe. Sharing diverse cultures over haggis, whiskey, poetry, and dance gave us an incredible sense of community! 

A fancy way of serving haggis – a savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while encased in the animal’s stomach or in an artificial casing.
HAPI Founder, Marissa Langseth RN with Humanists International Chief Executive Officer, Garry Mclelland
HAPI Founder, Marissa Langseth RN, HAPI Chief Executive Officer, Javan Lev Poblador and HAPI Chief Finance Officer, Mary Jane Valenzuela
Humanìst friends from Iceland and Poland!

2022 Humanists International General Assembly

The fruitful conference hosted by Humanist Society Scotland was followed by the 2022 General Assembly of Humanists International the next day. Delegates from across the world attended the event; among them were representatives of member organizations (including us at HAPI), staff and board members, and individual supporters of Humanists International. 

Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International, welcomed the delegates from around the globe.

“It’s wonderful to be able to see so many of you in person again. I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since we last gathered in a General Assembly back in Iceland in 2019. Who could have known then what we do now and who could have imagined what we would all have been through? From speaking to many of you, I know what a deeply difficult time it has been. All of us have had to bear challenges, in one way or another, which we could never have imagined. However, we are here, we have been able to meet again and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that we have absolutely made the most of our time together here in Glasgow.”

– Andrew Copson

To the new members and associates of the organization as well as to the three re-elected Board of Directors of Humanists International, congratulations!

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About The Author

Mutya Valenzuela

Mutya Valenzuela is the ever-lovable HAPI Chief Financial Officer!

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