Fredericton gears up for Congress 2011

Fredericton has welcomed what one organizer is calling “the intellectual Olympics” this past weekend.

Congress 2011 of the Humanities and Social Sciences has brought close to 6,000 people to the capital city during a span of eight days, academic convener Linda Kealey said.

Co-hosted by St. Thomas and the University of New Brunswick, the conference is Canada’s largest academic gathering and is being pegged as the biggest event Fredericton has ever hosted. It’s organized by annually by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The welcome we have received from New Brunswickers has been truly reflective of a community committed to knowledge, research and Canada’s intellectual heritage” said Federation president Graham Carr in a press release.

Throughout eight days, there will be several cultural events as well as lectures from prominent scholars as part of the Big Thinkers sessions. Top names include former Governor-General Michaelle Jean, climatologist Andrew Weaver and writer David Adams Richards. These sessions are free to the public.

“We have a lot of events open to the community which increases UNB and STU’s exposure to the community and lets the community see what we are doing,” Kealey said.

“Congress also brings economic benefits to the city and the province, but more importantly, Congress enriches discussion and debate on issues that may seem local but are often global in their reach and their implications.”

Fredericton’s Congress 2011 has been five years in the making. UNB and STU put in a bid to host Congress in 2006 and started organizing by 2007.

Students can attend most events for $15 a day.

To see the full event schedule, visit www.congress2011.ca. Congress news will also be posted on the Canadian Federation for the Social Sciences and Humanities’ twitter feed – http://twitter.com/#!/fedcan.

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