In-depth reflection on sixty years of its earlier work and present occupations has led WAAS to the formulation of a multidimensional conception of reliable knowledge which has guided work over the past decade and its approach to the future.
Being a World Academy composed of members drawn from the arts, social and physical sciences, humanities, business, public administration and civil society has compels the Academy to pose fundamental questions:
- What do we mean by Reliable Knowledge?
- Is there really a common meeting point between art and science?
- Is there a unique contribution that WAAS can make to the world’s knowledge?
Rather than distinguish itself by specializing in a particular set of disciplines, issues or geographical area, the Academy has formulated a comprehensive and integrated perspective of knowledge inclusive of all disciplinary perspectives and applicable to social problems and opportunities in all fields.
The defining characteristic of this conception of reliable knowledge is based on a 1961 mission document by the founders placing emphasis on the “policy implications and social consequence of knowledge”.
WAAS is not an Academy founded for specialized knowledge in specific fields, nor for the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but rather to study the impact of knowledge on policy and society, which ultimately means with reference and relevance to human beings and their life on earth. In other words, it must be human-centered and seek to meet all the criteria required for knowledge to be reliably relevant, applicable and effective to the lives of people.
The application of the concept of Reliable Knowledge leads inevitably to a program of work which is global in scope, multi-and transdisciplinary, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, contextual, evolutionary, value-based and responsible, comprehensive, relational, integral, creative, practically powerful and effective.
The Academy’s program framework focuses on global issues of importance. The emphasis is on advocacy of original ideas, integrated perspectives, innovative strategies and catalytic actions to resolve challenges and tap opportunities.