International Virtual Conference: The Role of Universities in Addressing Societal Challenges and Fostering Democracy

An international virtual conference will be held on March 25th-26th, 2021. PhD workshop will take place on March 24th, 2021.

The conference is titled The Role of Universities in Addressing Societal Challenges and Fostering Democracy: Inclusion, Migration, and Education for Citizenship (TRUA-SC-FD)

About the conference


This event seeks to bring together papers that address these and other conceptual and practical concerns and that develop new critical understandings of the role of universities in fostering democracy and addressing migration and other societal changes; that aim to reach a broader dialogue between university and multicultural society; and that establish discussions on migration and mobilities between diverse communities in academia and the public sector. We therefore welcome papers that open the boundaries of thinking about migration, democracy and the role of universities and include but are not limited to the following themes:

  • Civic responsibility of universities and institutions 
  • Normative conceptions of universities and democracy 
  • Democracy and educational processes at the university 
  • Challenges to the university in contemporary democracies 
  • Universities and neoliberalism 
  • Citizenship and immigration
  • Widening participation and transnational students
  • Universities, knowledge and democracy in a time of rising populism
  • Universities and social disruptions: the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Integration, adult education and immigrants' acquisition of the host country language
  • Identities and communities
  • Relationships between migrants and their host countries
  • Migration in small states and rural areas
  • Migration and multiculturalism
  • Socio-economic policies
  • Migration and activism
  • Educational practices

Abstract submission and call for proposals

Deadline: December 18th, 2020

An abstract must not exceed 250 words excluding the following information:

  1. Author(s) name(s)
  2. Institutional affiliation
  3. Email address(es)
  4. Paper title
  5. Topics of interest (max. 3)

Prospective participants are asked to send their abstracts to Iwona Szelewa,
For more information please see the call for papers in section below.

We invite doctoral students to also attend the Ph.D. workshop “Conceptualizing integration: Social inclusion and exclusion in diverse and multicultural societies”, that will take place on March 24th. Please see the call for papers for the workshop below.

Call for Papers


The recording from the Keynote Speech delivered by Professor Kristín Loftsdóttir is now available (Please see the section “Keynote Speakers”)

Program and book of abstracts

Conference agenda (pdf)

Book of abstracts (pdf)

Keynote Speakers

Kristín Loftsdóttir

Our keynote speaker is Professor Kristín Loftsdóttir. She is a Professor in Anthropology at the University of Iceland. She holds a PhD degree from the Faculty of Anthropology at the University of Arizona in the United States.

Kristín Loftsdóttir

Professor Loftsdóttir has organized and been part of diverse research projects. Examples include research on racism, colonialism, whiteness, precarious migrants, crisis, and nationalism. She has also conducted research relating to the tourism industry, development cooperation, and masculinity. She has done research across Europe including Iceland, Belgium, and Italy, as well as in Niger, West Africa.

Her research has appeared in various highly regarded academic journals and book chapters. Her latest publications are titled “An alternative world: a perspective from the North on racism and migration, published in 2020 in Race and Class; “Europe is finished’: migrants lives in Europe’s capital at times of crisis” published in 2019 in Social Identities; and “Dualistic Colonial Experiences and the Ruins of Coloniality” published in 2019 in Scandinavian Studies.

Keynote talk: Up-Side-Down Narratives and the Cancellation of the Future

Thaddeus Metz

Our keynote speaker is Professor Thaddeus Metz. He is a Professor from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He holds a PhD degree from Cornell University in the United States.

Thaddeus Metz

Professor Metz was recently designated as one of The World’s Top 50 Thinkers by Prospect Magazine (2020). Also, he has been awarded an ‘A1’ rating from the South African National Research Foundation (2019) for the quality and impact of his research.

The work of Professor Metz has been focused on themes related to the point of a university, the role of a legal system, African morality, the meaning of life, the nature of mental health, and a range of themes in value theory and moral-political philosophy. His research has been published in more than 250 books, academic articles, and book chapters.

His recent works pertaining to higher education include: “Neither Parochial nor Cosmopolitan: Cultural Instruction in the Light of a Communal Ethic” published in 2019 in Education as Change; and “An African Theory of the Point of Higher Education: Communion as an Alternative to Autonomy, Truth, and Citizenship” in: A Stoller and E Kramer (eds), Contemporary Philosophical Proposals for the University, published in 2018 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Keynote talk: The Aims of Higher Education beyond Domestic Justice: Global Justice and Domestic Relationships


Participation type:

Presenter or co-presenter

Available only for the authors and co-authors of the abstracts submitted for the conference.

Registration closed

As a presenter or co-presenter:

  • You will be able to give a live ZOOM presentation during the session where your paper is listed. The time slot for the presentation, including discussion, is around 25-30 minutes.
  • You will be able to listen to all the other sessions and keynotes
  • You will be able to engage in the discussions following presentations during all the sessions

We are looking forward to meeting you online in March 2021.