Magna Charta Annual Conference, 16-17 October 2019, Ontario, Canada

23 July 2019

Each year the Magna Charta Observatory organises an international conference to address current challenges in upholding the fundamental values and celebrates in a ceremony as more rectors sign the Magna Charta Universitatum. The 2019 conference and ceremony take place on 16 and 17 October 2019 in Hamilton, Canada, at the McMaster University.

On September 18, 1988, in the presence of many political leaders and representatives of society, 388 rectors signed the Magna Charta Universitatum. That document remains as relevant to the mission of universities everywhere as it was when it was first signed. It has become the major reference for the fundamental values and principles of the university and over 800 university leaders from all over the world have now signed it.

The Magna Charta Observatory is also pleased to announce that Professor Sigal Ben-Porath, Professor of Education, Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania will give a Keynote Address at the Magna Charta Observatory's annual conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada on 16 October 2019.

The title of her speech will be:

Free Speech on Campus: A Way Forward

Free speech, a staple of modern democracy, has become the focal point for political and cultural forces impacting college campuses. Universities are charged with the mandate to expand the boundaries of knowledge; to disseminate knowledge through teaching and other modes, and to serve the public by training citizens and leaders. But, should all speech be protected in the name of free inquiry at the university? Recent speech controversies on college campuses around the globe expose the difficulty in carving a response in this polarized time. Partly these controversies are another demonstration of the pressures created by movements that test the limits of democratic tolerance, and partly they are the result of changes in youth and campus culture. Recognizing that the struggle over the boundaries of speech on campus is a struggle over core democratic values, and designing a response anchored in the mission of the university, can help alleviate these tensions by creating guidelines that align with the unique role and work of higher education institutions. A democratic framework of inclusive freedom reflects the values of the university in protecting free thought, inquiry, and expression, and maintaining a commitment to the dignity of all campus members. This framework can guide university leadership through turbulent times by being responsive to the unique circumstances of contemporary college campuses while remaining committed to the university’s long-standing values.

For mor einformation and registration, please visit the Conference website.

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