During our Academic Opening, Rector Jan Danckaert announced the creation of PACT, the Caroline Pauwels Academy of Critical Thinking.
During her rector's mandate (2016-2022), Caroline Pauwels has worked immensely to take dialogue, interaction and connection with society to the next level. This is why the new VUB academy bears her name: the Caroline Pauwels Academy of Critical Thinking or PACT for short.
PACT was the last major project Caroline Pauwels had in mind before she passed away on August 5 of this year. Her big idea behind this academy - originally to be called the Poincaré Academy of Critical Thinking - is the implementation of the principles of the Enlightenment: critical thinking, free inquiry and radical humanism.
What does PACT want?
With PACT, the VUB wants to make it clear to the widest possible audience that doubt, uncertainty and advancing insight are not weaknesses, but precisely the engine of real scientific and social progress. Only in this way can we provide an answer to the ever-increasing challenges looming in society and in the world.
Among other things, PACT will organize lectures for people who "want to understand," who want to listen to others because they might be right, and who want to become free thinkers through dialogue, self-reflection and self-examination. The PACT lectures aim to offer a better understanding of the main problems in society and the world, and above all to offer ideas on how to address those problems. The PACT lectures are thus explicitly an alternative to fatalistic doom scenarios and gloomy perspectives on the future.
Do you participate?
PACT aims to present the broadest possible range of voices, with scholars and thinkers from all continents, with a international perspective, with a focus on decolonization. But in addition to an interesting lecture program, PACT will also organize a variety of other activities that endorse its intentions. Anyone who feels addressed by Caroline Pauwels' Manifesto - the basis for PACT - can participate.