The human right to participate in and benefit from science is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The 2017 UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers further states that academic freedom lies at the very heart of the scientific process, and provides a strong guarantee of the accuracy and objectivity of scientific results. Today when academic freedom is challenged in some countries and disciplines, it is urgent to highlight and discuss how researchers, universities, academies and governments may support fellow researchers and safeguard academic freedom globally.

Date: Friday 9 November

Time: 13:00-15:00, a light lunch is served from 12:15

Venue: Bankhallen, Regeringskansliet, Malmtorgsgatan 3, Stockholm

Organisers: Swedish National Commission for UNESCO and Young Academy of Sweden


Welcome by Jonas Olofsson (Associate Professor in Psycology at Stockholm University, Young Academy of Sweden) and Richard Sannerholm (member of the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO and Director for Assessment and Legal Analysis at International Legal Assistance Consortium, ILAC).

Introduction to the Symposium by moderator Helena Lindholm (Professor in Social Sciences at Gothenburg University and Chair of the Expert Group for Aid Studies, EBA, a Government committee).

The state of democracy and academic freedom in Europe
Talk by Professor Staffan I. Lindberg, Director of the Varieties of Democracy Institute, V-Dem, in Gothenburg, Young Academy of Sweden Member.

Theme 1: Protecting academic freedom when it is challenged by the Government

Case study: Gender studies at the Central European University in Hungary
Talk by Professor Andrea Pető, Department of Gender Studies at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Case study: The situation for scientists in Turkey.
Panel discussion with Marco Nilsson, Associate Professor in Global Studies at Jönköping University, and Olga Selin Hünler, Post-doctoral Researcher in Cultural Antropology at Bremen University, Germany.

Theme 2: Protecting academic freedom when it is challenged by the risk of self-censorship

Case study: when the academic freedom is challenged by global enterprises.
Talk by Beatrice Crona, Associate Professor, Executive Director at The Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere programme (GEDB) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Young Academy of Sweden Alumni.

Theme 3: The role of universities and academic institutions in standing up for academic freedom
Talk by Professor Astrid Söderbergh-Widding, Vice-Chancellor of Stockholm University.

Concluding discussion on the way forward

Panel with Andrea Pető, Astrid Söderbergh-Widding, Richard Sannerholm and Beatrice Crona.


For more information please contact Anna Wetterbom (Young Academy of Sweden) or Julia Lodén (Swedish National Commission for UNESCO).

This event is now fully booked.