Philosopher Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay “Toward Perpetual Peace” still holds significant relevance even now more than two centuries after it was first published. With ongoing wars across the globe, securing peace remains elusive.

An upcoming one-day symposium will explore how Kant’s principles can help lay the foundation for lasting peace. The symposium is supported by the Central New York Humanities Corridor, whose administrative home is based at the Syracuse University Humanities Center. The event, “The Contemporary Relevance of Perpetual Peace,” will be held Friday, April 19, at Cornell University, with a symposium and workshop on one of Kant’s most widely read essays, Zum ewigen Frieden (“Toward Perpetual Peace”).

The symposium, as part of the Perpetual Peace Project, is organized by Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences and a founder and co-director of the Perpetual Peace Project, and Peter Gilgen, director of the Institute for German Cultural Studies and associate professor in the Department of German Studies and Graduate Field of Comparative Literature at Cornell University.

The Perpetual Peace Project, an ongoing international forum on the concept of peace, began as an initiative of the Humanities Center in 2008.

“The purpose of the project is to raise awareness and attention to the fact that war is not one regional issue,” Lambert says. “It is a global issue, and the number of wars only seems to increase each year.”

Open to the public, Friday’s symposium, which also is a celebration of Kant’s 300th birthday, will begin with three individual papers that examine different aspects of Kant’s treatise and its contemporary relevance.

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