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The last year has shown that academic freedom is under threat globally and locally. The escalation of the conflict in Israel/Palestine in particular has raised issues about physical threats to individuals and institutions, threats of censorship and increases in hate speech. These threats are not unique to that conflict or that region. From Ukraine to Afghanistan to Sudan and from Belfast to Boston,  academic freedom faces numerous challenges, both obvious direct threats and more subtle risks.

In this conference we highlight some of these threats and publicise the annual Scholars at Risk report Free to Think which details many examples of threats across the globe. We will hear from scholars presenting perspectives, both global and local, on academic freedom and we will have the opportunity to learn more about the work of Scholars at Risk and examples of good practice in the support for the continuation of academic practice for those at risk, in exile and displaced, including that offered by the Council of At Risk Academics.

This event is organised by SAR-Ireland. It is supported by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB), and the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and INCORE at Ulster University (UU).

The event will be opened with remarks from Prof Archie Clement Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) for Research and Enterprise (QUB).

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Prof Graham Ellison (QUB)
  • Prof Roja Fazaeli (University of Galway)
  • Dr Liudmyla Fihurska (QUB)
  • Prof Colin Harvey (QUB)
  • Dr Mohammed Hassan (Essex)
  • Prof Nigel Healey (University of Limerick)
  • Goretti Horgan (Ulster University)
  • Dr Tetiana Kolisnyk (QUB)
  • Dr Chandana Mathur (Maynooth)
  • Dr. Abdul Aziz Mohibbi (Maynooth)
  • Prof Rowena Pecchenino (Maynooth, former chair of SAR Ireland)
  • Denise Roche (SAR Europe and Maynooth)

The conference will include a Performance by Swar and Hasoun (Syria) and Conor (Ireland) of Beyond Skin and the Musicians Artists as Risk Resettlement Scheme (MARRS).

Tea/coffee and a light lunch will be provided.

Tea / coffee at 09.30-10.00

10.00 -10.45 Launch of Report Free to Think

  • Welcome by Prof Rory O’Connell, Ulster University, and Prof Dina Belluigi, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Opening – Prof Archie Clement Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) for Research and Enterprise, Queen’s University of Belfast
  • The Free to Think Report – Denise Roche, SAR-Europe, Maynooth University
  • Reflections on SAR-Ireland by Prof Rowena Pecchenino, Maynooth University

10.45 -11.15 Between solidarity and silencing: A long view on building links between Palestinian and UK universities

  • Chair: Prof Dina Belluigi, Queen’s University of Belfast
  • Dr Helen Murray, King’s College London

11.15-11.45 Tea/Coffee

11.45-13.15 Global Perspectives on Academic Freedom

  • Chair: Dr Chandana Mathur, Maynooth University
  • Dr Abdul Aziz Mohibbi, Maynooth University
  • Dr Tetiana Kolisnyk, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Dr Mohammed Hassan, University of Essex
  • Dr Liudmyla Fihurska, Queen’s University Belfast

13.15-14.00 Lunch, Tea/Coffee

14.00-14.45 Introduction to Beyond Skin and Musicians at Risk

Introduction toBeyond Skin and the Musicians Artists as Risk Resettlement Scheme (MARRS)

Performance by Swar and Hasoun (Syria) and Conor (Ireland)

14.30-16.15 Academic Freedom in these islands

  • Chair: Prof Nigel Healey, University of Limerick
  • Prof Colin Harvey, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Goretti Horgan, Ulster University
  • Prof Graham Ellison, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Prof Roja Fazaeli, University of Galway

16.15 Close

  • Prof Brandon Hamber, Ulster University

Event info

This event has ended

Tuesday 20 February

9.30am to 4.30pm


Belfast campus