Facing the 21st Century


“It seems inconceivable to us to look ahead to the coming century without first looking back at the evil symbol of the century that is now approaching its end.” — Elie Wiesel

Conferences of Nobel Laureates

Facing the 21st Century: Threats and Promises, Paris Conference - 1988

The Foundation’s inaugural program, co-hosted by President Mitterrand of France, was an unprecedented meeting of seventy-five Nobel Laureates from five continents. Laureates in Peace, Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Economics, Physiology and Medicine discussed the theme, Facing the 21st Century: Threats and Promises. Diverse and often complementary perspectives were brought to a variety of shared concerns, from disarmament and human rights to the social implications of technological advances.

On the day before the conference began, which was the forty-third anniversary of the evacuation of Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel traveled to Poland to visit the site of the death camp, accompanied by a group of Laureates and friends.