In 2019 the International Institute for Ethics and Contemporary Issues and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Ukrainian Catholic University inaugurated an annual international conference series within the framework of a broad theme entitled Integral Human Development in the Digital Age.

The underlying aim of the series is to bring diverse fields of study into a fruitful multidisciplinary dialogue on matters of public relevance with special reference to "integral human development" or human ecology. No one discipline or specialized domain of knowledge, however, can deal with such an extensive set of fundamental concerns. Consequently, such a topic requires a multidisciplinary approach. The specific context of such an approach here is Catholic social teaching where the general notion of integral human development is brought into a sharper focus and employed as a key concept for facing the complex challenges and opportunities involved in dignified human development and social progress today and tomorrow. This concept offers a deeply important and rich perspective on the unity of human life and experiences, the significance of authentically human relationships, and the meanings of responsibility in the shifting contexts of a rapidly emerging digital world.

The first international conference of the series elected as its inaugural theme, "Friendship in the Digital Age" . The conference took place in Lviv at the Ukrainian Catholic University in February of
2019. The conference was dedicated to critical reflection, discussion, and a progressive articulation of the underlying anthropological intuitions and 'visions' of human beings who increasingly tend to think of themselves as immigrants in a new 'digital land' owing to rapidly emerging modes and codes of behavior and communication. The second international conference of the series, "Informational Overload, AI, and Responsibility", took place in February 2020. This conference was dedicated to critical reflection, discussion, and a progressive articulation of how the rapid advances of digital technologies at the beginning of the present century continue today to present unprecedented challenges to integrate these new technologies into the world of human culture, communication, and relationships.

The IIECE and the FSS is now very pleased to announce the third International Conference on Integral Human Development and the Digital Age. The conference will take place in Lviv at the Ukrainian Catholic University from 24-26 February 2021.
In continuity with the themes of the first two conferences, and as part of the ongoing critical reflection on the extraordinarily suggestive papal encyclicals
Laudato Si and Fratelli Tutti, the 2021 conference theme is "Integral Human Development in the Digital Age: Poverties, Migrations, Pandemics, and the Idea of a New Social Ethics."

By way of backgrounds for the theme, recall that the United Nations recently put into effect its new 15 year world development program to run from 2016 to 2030 under the title The Sustainable Development Goals.; The new program was approved by more than 190 nations. The previous program, which ran from 2000 to 2015 and which was also very widely approved, was entitled The Millennium Development Goals.

Strikingly, the very first goal in the new 17 item program was the same as that of the first goal in the previous 8 item program. That still unachieved goal was the eradication of extreme poverty. For despite all the devoted research, experiment, and work put into realizing this goal in the earlier program, very little attention was devoted to articulating and how to alleviate substantially any other kinds of poverty than monetary poverty. Thus, educational, cultural, and indeed spiritual poverties remain largely unattended to.

Moreover, despite the almost overwhelming problems in 2015 of vast numbers of truly destitute
migrants trying to find refuge in Europe from war, famine, and economic ruin, and now the quite real dangers of repeated migration disasters after Turkey's decision to lift the ban on its ca 3.5 million migrants to leave for Europe, all too little sustained critical discussion has taken up the deep ethical dimensions of such migrations. Still more, in the midst of the world-wide tragedies connected with the very recent emergence of the Corona virus disease, the first of perhaps still more such epidemic health tragedies in these times of rapidly accelerating climate change, exactly what we owe each other ethically, in addition to sustainable health care for everyone, is hardly considered. Yet all of these major happenings are profoundly interconnected. But how? And why?

Accordingly, this further international conference is intended to be an open-ended critical forum for exploring the still mainly overlooked, often hidden, and obscure yet quite essential and multiple ethical dimensions of poverties, migrations, and pandemics, notably, in the plural for there are many kinds. In particular, the conference aims to bring together all those seriously interested in exploring what important deficits still affect our commonly accepted ideas of a social ethics today and integral human development. And it also aims at articulating, however tentatively, several of what must be central thematic elements of any new social ethics that can legitimately hope to surpass the limits of at least some of the present guiding ideas of social ethics in Europe today. This new social ethics would be one that, among other characteristics, could address much less unsatisfactorily, despite some progress so far, the rapidly accelerating challenges of poverties, migrations, and pandemics.

What may prove especially attractive to some, whether ordinary thoughtful citizens, students, and academics, is the chance to participate in critical discussions with one another. These discussions will concern not just of each of these extraordinary challenges continuing to confront today's European communities and nations, but also their interconnections as well. And they will do so on the eve of the next UN global climate change reports due very soon.