News Release

Tokyo Forum 2021 explores how science breeds anxieties but can unite humanity, save planet

Global luminaries Michael Sandel, Jacques Attali, Kengo Kuma and other international experts lined up as speakers in two-day online event in December

Meeting Announcement

University of Tokyo

Tokyo Forum 2021 Digital Flyer

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Credit: Tokyo Forum

The University of Tokyo and South Korea’s Chey Institute for Advanced Studies will host Tokyo Forum 2021 to be held online from Dec. 2-3, 2021. The organizers anticipate people from all over the world to attend the event, which is open to the public and free of charge to register.

The international symposium will bring together experts from around the world to discuss how scientific and technological progress — which on the one hand has made life more convenient by providing us the internet and artificial intelligence — has created a gaping digital divide and given rise to new anxieties and mistrust, and how we can overcome this apprehension by promoting science as a positive force to unite people and preserve Earth’s ecosystem.

Among the more than 30 speakers representing multiple disciplines are American political philosopher and Harvard University Professor Michael Sandel, French writer and futurologist Jacques Attali, and Japanese architect and UTokyo University Professor Kengo Kuma, who will share their views in sessions organized around this year’s theme, “Science and the Human Mind.”

Day 1 will feature keynote addresses by Kuma and Yale University psychology professor and Yale College Dean Marvin Chun, followed by a high-level talk on science and the humanities, and a panel discussion on the stewardship of the global commons based on science and empathy.

Day 2 will kick off with a cross-disciplinary discussion with Sandel and other panelists on the topic of building trust to achieve collective action globally to conserve our environment and preserve our ecosystem, which has been degraded by human activity stemming from scientific advances.

This will be followed by four panel discussions, focusing on: utilizing artificial intelligence in society; resilience and mental health from a variety of viewpoints; anxiety in international relations caused by scientific technological progress and how it can in turn be used to prevent conflict; and issues surrounding technology and human nature, such as the ethics-efficiency (or profit seeking) dichotomy they engender, which will be joined by Attali.

Opening remarks will be delivered by University of Tokyo President Teruo Fujii and South Korea’s SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won on the first day. Fujii and Chey Institute President Park In-kook will make closing remarks following the wrap-up session on the second and final day.

Tokyo Forum with its overarching theme “Shaping the Future” is held annually to stimulate discussions on finding the best ideas for shaping the world and humanity in the face of complex situations where the conventional wisdom can no longer provide answers. Co-hosts the University of Tokyo and Chey Institute have committed to hold the forum for 10 years, starting with the inaugural event in 2019.


For more information about the program and speakers of Tokyo Forum 2021, visit the event website:

To register, fill out the registration form on the Tokyo Forum 2021 website (the event is free but registration is required):

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