The Role of Universities in Addressing Societal Challenges and Fostering Democracy: Inclusion, Migration, and Education for Citizenship


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

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

Conference Keynote Speakers

  • Kristín Loftsdóttir, Professor in Anthropology, Faculty of Sociology, Anthropology and Folkloristics, University of Iceland.
  • Thaddeus Metz, Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Pretoria.


Conference new format

The conference was initially planned to take place at the University of Akureyri in April 2020. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, we decided to postpone the event until next year.

After considering many scenarios and possibilities for organizing the conference in 2021, we decided to change the format and host it as a virtual event.

The event will be free of charge for registered participants.

Participants, who registered for the 2020 conference and have not yet requested a refund for the registration fee, are asked to contact Iwona Szelewa,

The authors of already accepted abstracts are kindly asked to contact Iwona Szelewa, regarding their attendance in the 2021 conference by choosing one of the following options:

  • retaining their initially submitted abstracts with no changes
  • re-submitting updated versions
  • submitting new abstracts
  • withdrawing their participation

The deadline for submitting new or revised abstracts is December 18th, 2020.

We apologize for all the inconvenience caused by this decision and we strongly hope to meet you online in March 2021.