The 2020 International Philosophy Olympiad: Online and Inclusive

The International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO) is a philosophy writing competition and set of workshops and lectures for high school students, sponsored by the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP). Held in various cities around the world since its start in 1993, the IPO was to take place this year in Ljubljana, Slovenia, but owing to the pandemic, it was moved online. 

Held at the end of May, the online version of the competition involved students from 40 different countries, with various online events.

Matthew Hammerton, assistant professor of philosophy at Singapore Management University and leader of the Singapore delegation at the IPO, wrote in with some observations about the event:

I think that there are a number of strong positives to be emphasized about the IPO. This year’s theme was “global solidarity” and it was inspiring to see students and teachers from all over the world join together for this event despite the difficult circumstances that many are currently facing. Secondly, there was widespread agreement among the delegation leaders that the online event was a great success and sets an excellent model for how to conduct a large scale event of this kind online. Thirdly, the IPO is a truly global event that encourages participation by countries that have traditionally been underrepresented in philosophy. In particular, it is great to see many students from poorer countries, and from the global south, able to be part of the conversation.  

The objectives of the IPO are:

  • to promote philosophical education at the secondary school level and increase the interest of high school pupils in philosophy;
  • to encourage the development of national, regional, and local contests in philosophy among pre-university students worldwide;
  • to contribute to the development of critical, inquisitive and creative thinking;
  • to promote philosophical reflection on science, art, and social life;
  • to cultivate the capacity for ethical reflection on the problems of the modern world; and,
  • by encouraging intellectual exchanges and securing opportunities for personal contacts between young people from different countries, to promote the culture of peace.

You can learn more about the IPO here.

And here are this year’s winners:

Gold Medals

Aybars Önder Turkey
Wang Dingzheng Singapore

Silver Medals

Jiayi Ren Singapore
Faruk Šahat Bosnia and Herzegovina
Luiz Felipe Horta Brazil
Muhammad Amir Rafiq Malaysia

Bronze Medals

Blaž Sušnik Slovenia
Dimitrios Kouvaras Greece
Rachel Börger Germany
Una Iza Grandovec Slovenia
Lyubomira Dimitrova Bulgaria
Oskar Ban Brejc Slovenia
Deokhaeng Lee South Korea
Thomas Delmas France

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