Breaking boundaries, barriers and walls: what role for universities?

After the successful winter school in February 2017, we are continuing discussion on the theme Boundaries, Borders and Walls – What of Universality?  with a series of seminars.

The aim of these seminars is to link our theoretical reflections on the theme of borders and walls with concrete experiences of networks, associations and NGOs that are working in collaboration with universities.

The Scholars at Risk Network: Opportunities for Italian universities to get involved

3rd May, 2017, 16.30 at SPGI, Aula N, via del Santo 28, Padova

This seminar has been organized in collaboration with Scholars at Risk. Scholars at Risk is an international network of over 450 higher education institutions in 35 countries, dedicated to protecting threatened scholars and promoting academic freedom. The network protects scholars primarily by arranging temporary positions of sanctuary at SAR member institutions for scholars facing threats to their lives and their work, enabling them to continue their important work in safety. Scholars at Risk also provides advisory services for scholars and hosts, campaigns for scholars who are imprisoned or silenced in their home countries, monitoring of attacks on higher education communities worldwide, and leadership in deploying new tools and strategies for promoting academic freedom and improving respect for university values everywhere. Institutions and individuals in Italy who share in these values are invited to join the network and get involved in SAR’s opportunities for engagement including hosting threatened scholars, advocating for imprisoned academics, monitoring attacks on higher education and joining working groups, among others.
During this event, participants will hear from Olivier Vincent, a SAR representative from the University of Geneva about how his university works with the Scholars at Risk network. Mr. Vincent will also describe the activities of the Scholars at Risk Switzerland Section, which coordinates SAR activities in Switzerland, and will raise for discussion some possible next steps for universities in Italy interested in forming a SAR Italy section. Scholars at Risk’s European Director will join the meeting via videoconference to share more information about SAR’s work elsewhere in Europe.

We will also hear from Ester Gallo, lecturer in anthropology the Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento and Research Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUI. She worked at Gediz University (Izmir, Turkey), as Assistant Professor and then as Associate Professor, from September 2011 to July 2016, when the university was shut down by the Turkish government in the context of the post-coup ‘purges’. She has been working on forging links between the University of Trento and Scholars at Risk.

Breaking boundaries in refugees’ access to higher education: MOOCs and virtual exchange

12th April, SPGI, 16.30 Aula N, via del Santo 28, Padova

In this international seminar two projects led by NGOs in partnership with universities were presented and discussed with participants.
Manuela Verduci presented the work of Kiron Open Higher Education, an NGO which offers tailor-made curricula of MOOCs to refugees which are recognized by partner universities. Casper van der Heijden presented the Sharing Perspectives Foundation (SPF), an NGO dedicated to providing students and academics from across the globe with an opportunity to collaboratively study contemporary themes through virtual exchange.