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Strasbourg meetings on the role of universities

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work academic Tony Gallagher participated in two meetings in Strasbourg last week at the headquarters of the Council of Europe. The first, from June 18-19, was the European Conference on the Local Mission of Higher Education. This was the latest in a series of conferences looking at the role of higher education institutions as anchor institutions in the cities and regions, with presentations from Dublin, Zagreb, Strasbourg, Granada, Cagliari, Andorra and Brussels. 

The second conference (June 20-21) was the Global Forum meeting on ‘Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy and the Future of Democracy’, with participants from the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and South Africa. The meeting addressed the challenge to democracy in an era of ‘post-truth’ politics and the role of universities and higher education institutions in defending and promoting democratic values. Tony was appointed as the General Rapporteur for the Global Forum, which ended last week’s meeting with an agreed Declaration on Academic Freedom and Institutional Autonomy and the role of higher education in promoting democratic culture and practices in themselves and their wider societies.