This international conference is organised by the Council of Europe; the U.S. Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy; Queen's University Belfast; the European Wergeland Centre; and the European Students' Union.
HEDI2014 will underline the commitment of the main organisers to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as to social cohesion and intercultural dialogues, and their belief in the key role of education in furthering these goals. In particular, the conference will focus on the need to rethink and innovate the way we approach and practice democracy in modern, complex societies. The conference theme of "democratic innovation" will also be one of the Council of Europe's lead themes in its recently adopted 2014-2015 programme.
There are few venues more exciting and better suited to illustrate this theme than Queen's University Belfast, in view of its important role in building bridges across communal divides in Belfast and, more broadly, in Northern Ireland. Building on the 2011 conference on “Reimagining Democratic Societies”, held in Oslo, the 2014 conference in Belfast will examine the role of higher education in rethinking democracy and will draw on the rich experience of Northern Ireland and of Queen’s University in democratic innovation.