As is apparent to anyone who watches the news, academic freedom is in the headlines. The university has historically been an oasis for freedom of speech and freedom of expression for students and faculty alike. As centres of learning and research, the university has always been a place where new and sometimes challenging ideas emerge.
Universities are facing challenges from different directions to this freedom. There is a state challenge to academic freedom, truth and knowledge diplomacy: government power challenges the long held academic approach to the peaceful exchange of ideas and knowledge which lies at the heart of knowledge diplomacy. Universities should combine a robust defence for academic freedom with a truly inclusive approach to their own everyday educational and institutional practice. The modern world badly needs its universities to be engaged, connected beacons of freedom.
Whilst at the same time, knowledge diplomacy builds bridges and has the power to surpass political disagreement and allows for discussion to remain open at all times. States understand this power and engage universities to maintain relations.
During this session we will hear arguments from those in favour of the universalist approach vs the state’s power to challenge the instrumentality of knowledge. And where does this leave the academic in pursuit of their agendas of research, knowledge and truth.