Word of Welcome

President Werner Arber

Good morning, I welcome all of you here. I’m pleased to see that quite a number of our Academicians took the time to come here to give their input and to help to find new ways for a topic which we formulated particularly wide, so that all scientific disciplines might, if they wanted, make some contributions for advancement in their disciplines and application of such advance of knowledge and implication of applications and knowledge after all on humanity.

We have of course, as you remember, the task to report to the Vatican for such advances and make propositions, recommendations how the Church could or might react. It’s not our decision on how the Church has to react, that’s the only thing which we can do, give good reasons and propositions so, in the course of the next few days, we hope to again formulate such recommendations and we expect that the Vatican will pay some attention to our work. We will be honoured by the Pope this year, on Monday, so we will have this occasion again for all of those who are here for this quite intensive meeting.

Since we decided that in the course of these four intensive days of discussion we wanted to spend particular attention on particular topics, we have organized three half-day meetings: one on cosmology, one on energy, and one on food. These are very important things, for if one speaks on sustainability – I did notice that the majority of us human beings think of the next one, two, at most three generations, but from my point of view if we are scientists, talking about sustainability in our developments we should think of much longer terms and I think we should pay attention to this discussion in the course of the next few days. That’s not easy, we depend on models and expectations and, of course, often also on political decisions, but it’s our opinion that if the Vatican can be properly informed on the advances and predictions on how these advances can progress and what are their applications, we can expect that, thanks to the worldwide network of the Catholic Church, the implications will have some effect on human civilization.

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