The Interparliamentary Union (IPU) is the world’s first permanent international political organization. It was established in 1889, 30 years before the League of Nations, which was then followed by the creation of the United Nations in 1945. The organization was initially dedicated to providing arbitration of conflicts among nations, but over time its mission evolved towards the promotion of democracy and inter-parliamentary dialogue. CERN and IPU signed a Cooperation Agreement in November 2016, with the aim to promote science and its potential for society among parliamentarians.

Today, the IPU organizes several events to promote dialogue about burning contemporary issues but the main appointments on its event calendar are the general assemblies, which gather thousands of parliamentarians from all the 178 current members. For the first time in the history of IPU, the General Debate of the 139th IPU Assembly, which will be held in Geneva from 14 to 18 October 2018, will be themed around Science and Technology and the role of science and science education in the peaceful development of societies.

CERN will have a primary role in the Assembly, as CERN’s Director General, Fabiola Gianotti, has been invited to give the opening speech to the General Debate, and a CERN booth will be installed in the conference venue. In addition, a special side event on “Building bridges between the parliamentary and scientific communities” will take place on Tuesday 16 October. On this occasion, parliamentarians and scientists will engage in dialogue with a view to strengthening the role and impact of the scientific community in development.

Given the special occasion, the IPU is opening its doors to CERN people and Alumni who will have the opportunity to attend the General Debate from the gallery of the Centre International de Conférences de Genève (CICG) from 15 to 17 October. Other events will also be open to the general public. Places are limited and registration is compulsory on this page.

The participation of scientists and, more directly, of CERN in the discussions taking place at the 139th IPU General Assembly will also open the way to a new initiative, the IPU Science for Peace Schools, which aims at bringing science closer to parliamentarians and to help Parliaments define and implement in areas of political tension cross-border projects for the benefit of the people they represent.

Indeed, the peaceful and collaborative models developed by the world of science represent inspiring examples for inter-parliamentary cooperation. The first edition of the IPU Science for Peace Schools will be held at CERN from 18-24 November, and will address in particular selected staff from parliaments in the Middle East.

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