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Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR)
Activities and Programs

“Rethinking Academic Freedom in East African Universities”
A conference and workshop
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
21st – 23rd October 2008
Co-sponsors: British Council Ethiopia -- Forum for Social Studies (FSS) -- Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR) -- Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA) -- Scholars at Risk Network (SAR)


Higher education across Africa is experiencing unprecedented challenges and opportunities, including rapid growth in student populations; expansion and reform of higher education systems and governance; internationalization and commercialization of traditional education models; and continuing or worsening lack of public resources. What role, if any, do values of academic freedom and institutional autonomy play in meeting these challenges and opportunities? The events will bring together select higher education leaders, administrators, scholars and advocates to examine current issues of academic freedom and university autonomy in the region, with particular emphasis on how experiences in the region might contribute to the growing global practice in the area. With a starting point of recognized international and regional standards and instruments, including the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel (1997) and the Dar Es Salaam and Kampala Declarations, the events will explore case studies from various East African countries. Participants will be asked to critique a NEAR/SAR proposal for a shared, international framework for analyzing and responding to questions of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, and to propose follow-up activities on the national, regional and global levels.
The organizers invite papers on the overall theme with particular interest in case studies discussing academic freedom and autonomy issues from within the region; reports on applicable standards and instruments, especially in the decade since the 1997 UNESCO recommendation; and studies of recent reforms in higher education institutions and systems and how these have effected higher education values in practice. The organizers also invite proposals for follow-up activities aimed at improving respect for academic freedom, institutional autonomy and related values regionally and globally. Proposals should identify a problem to be addressed; the activity recommended; the suggested actor(s) at the local, national, regional and/or international levels; an estimate of the resources required; the anticipated benefits and outcomes; and anticipated obstacles. Abstracts of papers and proposals of c.250 words should be submitted, with a short paragraph detailing your name and background, in English, to the organizers by 1st September 2008. Those selected for inclusion in the events will be notified by 8th September 2008. Final papers and proposals of between 2000 and 3500 words should be submitted by 15th October 2008.
*The organizers will provide an honorarium as well as the travel, accommodation and conference expenses for authors of approved papers and proposals received by the deadline.


Monday 20 October Arrival day
Tuesday 21st October Symposium on Academic Freedom, featuring case studies from East Africa
Wednesday 22nd October Workshop on Academic Freedom, exploring global framework for research/response
Thursday 23rd October Planning Meeting, featuring discussion of proposals for follow-up activities
Departures in afternoon


Jonathan Travis – Programme Officer, Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR)
London South Bank University, Technopark, 90 London Road, London, SE1 6LN, UK,
Email: travis.near@lsbu.ac.uk / Tel: +44 (0) 20 7902 7700 / Fax: +44 (0) 20 7021 0881 / www.nearinternational.org


Dagnachew Desta, British Council Ethiopia; Dr. Taye Assefa, Forum for Social Studies (FSS); John Akker, Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR); Dr. Akim Mturi, Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA); Sinead O’Gorman, Scholars at Risk Network (SAR).

Private Forum
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