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Five Nobel Prize laureates to discuss “The future of work” during Nobel Prize Dialogue at University of Pretoria

As millions around the world try to cope with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the questions and challenges facing present and future generations of workers are thrown into starker relief.

What working life will mean in the future will be discussed together with Nobel Prize laureates and experts on 18 May 2021 at an event titled “The Nobel Prize Dialogue”. It will be hosted by and broadcast from the University of Pretoria (UP). The event, which is free and open for anyone to attend online, has now opened its registration.

Organised by the Nobel Prize Outreach and UP, the meeting aims to bring science and society closer and stimulate creative thinking by gathering a unique constellation of Nobel Prize laureates, key opinion leaders, policy makers, students, researchers, and the general public. Three Economic Sciences laureates –  Christopher Pissarides, Joseph Stiglitz and Abhijit Banerjee – will be joined by Physics laureate Brian Schmidt and Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus. 

Many questions will be raised during the dialogue, such as: “What is the ‘new normal’ for working life?”, “What benefits does diversity bring to the workplace?”, “How does an ageing global population change the labour market?”, “And how is the COVID-19 pandemic changing the nature of work?”

The Nobel Prize Dialogues were inspired by the Nobel Week Dialogue, which has been taking place in Sweden since 2012 on the day preceding the Nobel Prize award ceremony. Since then, the Dialogues have been organised in many countries across the world, but this will be the first time one takes place on the African continent. 

Names of the attending laureates:

  • Brian Schmidt (Physics Prize 2011)
  • Christopher Pissarides (Prize in Economic Sciences 2010)
  • Joseph Stiglitz (Prize in Economic Sciences 2001)
  • Muhammad Yunus (Peace Prize 2006)
  • Abhijit Banerjee (Prize in Economic Sciences 2019)

Other speakers include:

Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group; Professor Eeva Leinonen from Murdoch University, and lawyer Nicky Newton-King, former CEO, Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP, said, “Partnerships such as the one with the Nobel Prize Outreach help in the sharing and co-creation of knowledge. COVID-19 has meant a change in the way we work, with mental health issues on the rise. The workplace is also changing in the face of the fourth industrial revolution.”

Prof Kupe said he looks forward to what promises to be robust discussions around the benefits of diversity in the workplace and the contribution of ageing populations to the workplace. The University of Pretoria Senate is also set to consider the approval and launch of a Centre for the Future of Work two days after the event. 

“We are very much looking forward to this cooperation with the University of Pretoria and the first Nobel Prize Dialogue in Africa”, said Laura Sprechmann, CEO for the Nobel Prize Outreach. “We will be joined by five Nobel Prize laureates and several other speakers, sharing insights that will help us understand the challenges we are facing for working life in the future.”


You may register at: www.nobelprize.org/future-of-work

For more information on the University of Pretoria, go to www.up.ac.za

For more information on the Nobel Prize Outreach, go to www.nobelprize.org DM


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