International Conference on Academic Freedom

Universities have come under increasing pressures in recent times from many directions – even challenging a central pillar of university life – namely academic freedom. This forms the theme of the international conference linked to the 25th anniversary weekend. Academic Freedom: New Times, New Challenges, will involve a number of keynote speakers discussing the range of growing pressures on universities today. While those in Turkey, in Poland and some in Hungary are in the front rank facing such pressures, all our Universities are having to confront the new student-led pressure to create ‘safe spaces’ without ‘extremist’ speakers. Cuts in public expenditure, linked to increasing demands for vocational and other ‘priority’ forms of education, form yet another threat to University autonomy. Finally, the search for new contracts from business and industry, can also force universities to adjust research priorities and goals. Participants and speakers will include rectors and deputy rectors from all 13 Europaeum partners, as well as some 50 select Europaeum alumni. The keynote session on September 15th will include a leader of the ‘Umbrella Movement’, straight from Hong Kong, and e Radosław Sikorski (Senior Fellow, Harvard and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland), Zsolt Enyedi (Pro-Rector, Central European University, our newest Europaeum member). Please see the poster here. Please note that the Friday session is now booked full, but you are very WELCOME for the Saturday follow up. For the Saturday poster see here and for the programme see here. On Saturday, additional speakers will include Voldemar Tomusk (Open Society Institute), Bharam Beckharadnia (Higher Education Policy Forum), Professor Denis Noble (Campaign for Science and Engineering) and Alan Rusbridger (who championed the Wikileaks information as former editor-in-chief of The Guardian).