With more than 90 participants from 10 different countries, the third European Liberal Education Student Conference (LESC 2018) is about to start at University College Utrecht - appropriately for the 20th anniversary year of the very first University College in the Netherlands. This year’s edition will feature discussions around liberal education with regards to pressing societal issues such as food, migration, climate change, privacy and the European Union. The students seek to explore how different liberal arts education programmes approach these pressing contemporary challenges and if they are fit for such broader societal purpose. The aim is not only to learn about the issues at hand but for students to contribute to the further improvement of their own education programmes. They will be joined in this endeavour by Bert van den Brink (UCR), Iris van der Tuin (UU), James Kennedy (UCU), Ria van der Lecq (UU), Volker Balli (Leuphana), Teun Dekker (UCM) and Daniel Kontowski (Winchester, ELAI).
Drawing on his recent PhD project on how the first leaders (re)introduced liberal arts in eight European countries, ELAI co-founder Daniel Kontowski will give his keynote hinting at the great variety of liberal arts programmes that goes beyond some of the by now well known different organisational features. Problematising the assumption of a common educational philosophy behind these programmes, Daniel would then move on to explain how the students’ voices can amplify serious reflection, interest and change in liberal arts education in Europe.
We are very excited to take part in this great student-led initiative and are looking forward to some fruitful and illuminating days in Utrecht. You may already look forward to a concise report on LESC 2018 afterwards. Toodleoo!