Empowering Humanity:
From Local to Global Justice


The XX century was filled with tragic events, but it also gave humanity the opportunity to rebuild its dignity from the ashes. After the Second World War, a general concern with the creation of national and international mechanisms for the protection of human rights grew worldwide.

In 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was put forward, followed by the adoption of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). Humanity’s commitment towards democracy, justice and equal rights was followed during the civil rights movement, in the United States and abroad. Two decades later, such commitment reached its climax with the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), an event some celebrated as the end of history.

The XXI century has seen an ever-increasing process of globalization and reduction of the role and power of States. A new global order is emerging along with ill-designed and immature mechanisms of global governance. This is particularly true for typical transnational domains such as the environment and the migratory phenomena, which directly or indirectly affect communities everywhere.

In a world where information circulates at the speed of light, local problems have become global. And with a continuous flow of ideas connecting people all over the world, it is now inconceivable for a nation to project its future in isolation. This poses a challenge but, most of all, we regard it as an opportunity.

The interdependencies of countries and peoples and the worldwide confluence of ideas allow us to rethink the concept of justice. We must adapt old moral categories to a wide, plural, complex and richer world. In this respect, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emerges as one of the most important recent efforts towards a true universalization of human dignity.

Recently upheld by world leaders, the Agenda for Sustainable Development focuses on the eradication of poverty, the rejection of inequalities and environmental protection. These globally adopted Sustainable Development Goals may be taken as a starting point to our discussion on Global Justice – what can we do to bolster and strengthen them?

More than focusing on the relationship between States, a global approach to justice must largely focus on individuals – not only their inalienable rights but also their binding duties towards one another. Our purpose will be to unveil what lies at the core of human interactions of any kind, including state-level obligations, within countries and beyond borders.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Estoril Conferences, the 2019 edition yearns to synthesize and bridge the dominant challenges posed by globalization in the last decade, revisiting the way we have approached them through the years.

The Estoril Conferences 2019 will develop around four main topics of debate: human rights and duties, climate justice, global poverty and inequality and technology and development. For three days, speakers will engage in vibrant debates, addressing these four topics in all their comprehensiveness, so they can then take on the more pragmatic task of dealing with real problems of global (in)justice.

While avoiding the imposition of projected morals on anyone and offering plural perspectives on the responsibility towards the other, the discussion will be built over some key and unavoidable recent developments that prompt us to think about our duties promoting peace and justice beyond borders. Different voices will be heard in order to reach a conclusion on the best ways to advocate for human rights, both at an individual and a collective level and with reference to civil, political, economic and social rights. Departing from theory, speakers will further take part in impact discussions aimed at reaching concrete solutions to global justice issues, which might be effectively addressed locally or involve typical transnational challenges that claim the implementation of international and supranational policies.

The Estoril Conferences will promote the dialogue between theory and praxis, ethics and politics, past and future, seniors and youngsters.