1st Liberal Education Student Conference

May 12-15 in Lüneburg there will be a feast of European Liberal Education. After a conference in Amsterdam, when scholars dedicated to the idea of core texts have an opportunity to create an international debate, this time undergraduate researchers from liberal education institutions would have an opportunity to discuss the very premises of this mode of study.

The organizing team, which means students from Leuphana University Studium Individuale and University College Freiburg, attracted applicants from several European countries, as well as Hans Adriaansens, Teun Dekker and Nigel Tubbs from among the leaders of European liberal education. The conference would include both paper presentations – I read all 29 of them, and they are really strong and interesting – as well as more practical workshops on the idea and the future of liberal education in our continent. I was invited to give a keynote speech in which I will share some of my findings on the diversity hidden behind a common name, as well as propose six challenges that almost a hundred participants will work on over next three days.

This is the first instance of a totally grassroots initiative, that fairly quickly attracted a lot of attention not only in Germany and the Netherlands, but also in Russia, Latvia, Denmark and the UK. It builds on the experiences of national events, but both the scale and the potential impact are incomparable. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung publisher, Jürgen Kaube, will join us in this uneasy conversation, as well as Katharina Dermühl from Kiron University. A publication based on the papers seems very likely. But most importantly, we might be at the verge of creating an association that would join liberal educators on continent, both generating much needed support and coordination on a daily basis, and generating a solid basis for research-based reforms.

I am extremely excited about the next four days, which is ample time to have some real discussion and get to know other participants. The generational change in European liberal education is getting real.

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