25th Anniversary Weekend & International Conference on Academic Freedom

Universities have come under increasing pressures in recent times from many directions. Together they can be seen as challenging one of the standard principles of university academic life – namely academic freedom. This will form the central theme of the international conference to be linked to our 25th anniversary weekend. Academic Freedom: New Times, New Challenges, will involve a number of keynote speakers who will discuss the growing range of pressures that universities today increasingly face. Universities in Turkey, in Poland and indeed in Hungary are probably in the front rank facing government pressures. Universities are also 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 lead university to adjust their research priorities and goals. Participants and speakers will include rectors and deputy rectors from all 12 Europaeum partners as well as 50 select Europaeum alumni. A keynote talk will take place on the evening of Friday, September 29th, with further sessions and discussions to continue in the Nissan Theatre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, on the Saturday. The anniversary weekend will also include meetings of a newly set up Executive Committee, chaired by Dr Andrew Graham, the annual Europaeum Academic Council, also chaired by Dr Graham, and Board of Trustees, chaired by Dr Pierre Keller, followed by the 25th anniversary dinner in Balliol College, Oxford, hosted by Lord Patten.