Global Summit on Democracy and Education

1-4 July 2018
Belfast and Ballycastle, Northern Ireland

FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES is convening a Global Summit on Democracy and Education to examine current threats against liberal democracy faced by societies around the world and the role of education in developing informed, compassionate, and engaged democratic citizens.

Bringing together scholars and representatives of education and civil society organizations from around the globe, we will reflect upon these pressing issues as a global learning community. This summit is an opportunity to reinforce the value of global cooperation, learning, and citizenship.

Why This Summit; Why Now?

Now couldn’t be a better time to do what philosopher Hannah Arendt called on citizens to do: stop and think. Importantly, to think out loud with a diverse group of thinkers.

Liberal democracy is in crisis. Reports, headlines and recent books -- The Road to Unfreedom, Fascism: A Warning -- have sounded alarms. Illiberal democracy and competitive authoritarianism are on the rise, and democracies are at risk. We are in the midst of growing isolationism and nationalism, a turning away from post WWII commitments, alliances, norms, and principles. As a South African adolescent reflected on her own democracy:

“I feel that sometimes democracy and all these ideas are greater in theory than in practice. After the revolution, anything freedom related seems amazing and you don't feel any incentive to put in any hard work. The entire world after the revolution is a lot of hard work and effort.”

How do we move from theory to practice, and make education for democracy reflect the issues that societies face? How do we help adolescents navigate these challenges and become compassionate, informed, and engaged democratic citizens? How do we support teachers and schools to be responsive to the immediate context and think beyond crises to develop classrooms, schools, curricula, practice, and policies that reflect this hard work?

We look forward to sharing what we learn with you.

Download the Summit Agenda

Holtzmann Family 2018 Global Summit Scholars-in-Residence

Martha Minow

Martha Minow is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School and Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor. She served as Dean of Harvard Law School between 2009-2017. Minow is an expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities.



Duncan Morrow

Duncan Morrow is a Lecturer in Politics and the Director of Community Engagement at the University of Ulster. He has published widely in the fields of conflict resolution, Northern Ireland politics, and the relationship between religion and politics. For ten years, Morrow was Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council where he championed peace-building and the concept of a shared future.


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