Thinkers gather to ponder future 60 convene in Prague to reflect on human beings

THE BALTIMORE SUN

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The approaching new millennium has gotten some people thinking. Where will be the best place to party? Will all those zeros make my computer crash? Should I be catching the next comet out of here?

It has also gotten some people thinking deeper thoughts. What has mankind learned from its mistakes? How can we reconcile the victories of science with philosophical truth? What can we recommend for future civilizations?

This week, about 60 of the world's thinkers extraordinaire will convene in the Czech capital at the invitation of Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel. It is unlikely they will dwell upon bookings for New Year's Eve, 1999.

"This will be the task of the participants at Forum 2000: to review what we have learned about ourselves and each other and to propose alternatives for the future," Havel said in announcing the one-of-a-kind gathering.

The chosen thinkers include Nobel laureates, authors, politicians, scientists, professors, journalists and clergy.

The Dalai Lama, the religious leader of Tibet, is expected, as is Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian ocean traveler. Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and former South African President F. W. de Klerk have accepted invitations, as have author Wole Soyinka of Nigeria and Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan.

Cancer and AIDS researcher Claude Jasmin is listed, as is American television journalist Ted Koppel. The guest list, conspicuously short on women, also includes futurist Hazel Henderson and Palestinian journalist Leila Shahid.

Microsoft boss Bill Gates has sent regrets, as have Mother Theresa, South African President Nelson Mandela and Russian author Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn.

Pub Date: 8/31/97

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