Academic freedom (AF) entered the global political agenda in 1997 when the UNESCO agreed on a common definition. It is considered as a central value of higher education and Universities put it at the core of their mission.
In the last years, academic freedom is challenged on many levels across the globe. To the traditional threats, coming from non-democratic regimes limiting freedom of academic and students, new subtle threats coming from different actors and processes are to be considered. Moreover, AF is often considered as a an abstract universal principle and not a practice embedded in specific political and relational environments. In this perspective two main opposite challenges arise. From one hand we should work on this topic with a constructive confrontations able to respect different sensibilities and cultures, without imposing values and judgments and by exploring the potential for common ground, taking into account plurality and critical voices.
From the other hand, the identification of a world-wide approach mean a dilution of the meaning of the AF and it does not and should not generate alibi for diminishing the relevance of the topic. There is rich debate on the scope, the meaning and the practices of academic freedom and this panel aims at discussing on AF with a multilayered perspective.
We invite contributions addressing themes that may include but are certainly not limited to:
• Definition of academic freedom and its different levels, starting from the UNESCO definition agreed in 1997.
• Identification of traditional and new sources of threats for AF
• Analysis of political, socio-cultural and financial dimensions of AF
• Collection and analysis of institutional (best) practices across Universities from different countries and different regions of the world