AI Remaking Humanism?

FUCE Summer School
1-5 July 2024


European Federation of Catholic Universities

The fifth edition of the summer school ‘European Humanism in the Making’ of the Federation of Catholic Universities in Europe and Lebanon (FUCE), coordinated by the University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp (UCSIA), will take place on the campus of the Catholic University of Lille (UCL) from Monday July 1st until Friday, July 5th 2024.

After 4 editions, of which 3 were hosted by the LUMSA university of Rome (in 2019 & 2022 in Gubbio and in 2023 in Palermo) and 1 was held online (in 2021) another member institute of the FUCE takes over to host the upcoming 3 editions.

Up till now 85 (2nd and 3rd year) bachelor students from about 30 member universities participated in this international exchange, reflecting with their peers from Lebanon, the EU and wider Europe, on the cultural, religious and philosophical foundations of the European project as a basis to rethink its future.

Each year a selection of students voice their concerns and hopes for Europe in a public (online) panel debate ‘MyEurope’.

The idea for this project was born from the concern that students’ sense of belonging to Europe is more than diffuse. Euroscepticism and amnesia of the history of European integration and the values that forge European identity requires us to clarify what makes the specificity of the European spirit.
To re-boost Europhilia as an antidote against widespread Europhobia, Europeans have to reconsider anew those structural ingredients and conquests that have been the driving pillars of European life, one such pillar being humanism.

Inspired by the appeal made by Pope Francis, on accepting the Charlemagne Prize in May 2016, for the recovery of a lost – or maybe never fully recognized – ‘soul’ of Europe, based on the agenda for a new humanism resulting from historical knowledge and the ethical recollection that it can foster collectively, the course programme is entitled ‘European Humanism in the Making’. In doing so it wants to address his question “What happened to humanist Europe, the defender of human rights, democracy and freedom?” and take it further to tap into historical roots as bearers of future prospects for the European project.


The course content of this interdisciplinary five-day programme was developed by a team of 5 professors (Sarah Durelle-Marc from UCL, Peter Hanenberg from the Catholic University of Lisbon, Ali Mostfa from the Catholic University of Lyon, Michael Shortall from St.-Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland and Fernando Ariza from CEU San Pablo in Madrid) and consists of five courses (for each course an additional guest speaker is invited) structured in two parts:

PART I – Historical and Cultural Roots: Implications for Europe Today
I. Contribution of History to European Consciousness
II. Literature, the Arts, Translation and European Identity
III. European Enlightenment and the Islamic Heritage

PART II – Social and Political Construction: Implications for the Future of Europe
IV. European Social Humanism
V. Creative Leadership & Civic Engagement in Action

Opening lecture by Thierry Magnin

Each year a specific theme is put to the fore and presented in the public opening lecture (that can also be attended online) by an invited keynote speaker. After foregoing topics on conflicting memories between East and West and the future of Europe challenged by migration, this year’s focus is on the way new technologies influence humanist values under the title ‘AI remaking of European humanism?’. It will be introduced by Thierry Magnin, doctor in theology and physics, rector for the humanities at UCL and former president of FUCE, co-author (with Pierre Giorgini) of ‘Vers une civilization de l’algorthme? Un regard chrétien sur un défi éthique’ (Bayard, 2021)

The very fast development of numerical and AI systems induces a deep change in the mentalities and job practice today. Relations to reality, to others and to ourselves are strongly impacted in the era of algorithmic society. The aim of this talk is to precise these changes, to find how to be free when working and living with intelligent machines and to serve the common good in society. Differences between human intelligence and AI will be addressed.

Student Testimonials



University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp


European Federation of Catholic Universities


Barbara Segaert
Project Coordinator UCSIA
Europe & Solidarity
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Prinsstraat 14
B-2000 Antwerpen
Tel. +32 (0)3 265 49 60
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