european students’ union

Open Call for participants! Academic Freedom – Time to Act!

September 13, 2022

Are you passionate about academic freedom and interested in learning about your rights and actions you can take to support the development of Academic Freedom (AF) ? We’re looking to bring together a diverse, intercultural group of young people to join us for ‘Academic Freedom – Time to Act!’, a series of workshops that aim to welcome anyone who wishes to deepen their knowledge on defending, monitoring and promoting Academic Freedom on European, national and/or local level – high levels of expertise on the topics are NOT required, our training workshops will be conscious of the diverse abilities of our participants! 

The activities are being organised by the European Students Union (ESU) supported by Open Society Foundations and are dedicated to representatives or active students from National Student Unions or representatives of youth organisations who are interested in implementing their own small initiative on the topic of AF. 

If you are a student/youth activist and want to learn more about the challenges of Academic Freedom and how to tackle them as well as have the chance to implement your project through a small grant, have a look at our programme. 

 

Full Program Structure 

 

  1. Academic Freedom 101, 17th to the 21st (the 17th being the arrival day and the 21st the departure) in October in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The first activity will be a training session of 3 days for participants to contribute to raising awareness on AF and what are the challenges/infringements related to Academic Freedom and Academic Integrity, why to defend and promote these rights and who has a role and responsibility in this and how to monitor these values and how to take action for AF. 

 

  1. Academic Freedom: Time to Act! – Ideathon, November 2022 

The second activity named Ideathon, will include participants working together on their campaign proposal. Participants will apply in groups, where they will have to develop their own campaign proposal within the AF framework. During the Ideathon, training will be provided on how to organise and facilitate a training on Academic Freedom at a local level. Three student groups with the strongest proposals will each be awarded 750 EUR to implement their campaign at the end of the activity. The selection committee will consist of ESU’s Project Officer, Human Rights Coordinator and ESU Presidency member(s). 

 

  1. Academic Freedom Local Actions, November 2022 – February 2023 

After the training and selection of grantees, three groups will set up and implement their own project or action of their choice to help foster the development of academic freedom on a local level. 

 

  1. Students fight for Academic Freedom Award, March 2023  (European Students’ Convention) 

The last event will give the three groups of participants the opportunity to present their projects and share good practices with students from all over Europe at the European Students’ Convention, which is ESU’s bi-annual event that gathers all of its National Student Union members.

 

  • When? Academic Freedom 101: The first activity will take place from the 17th to the 21st (the 17th being the arrival day and the 21st the departure) in October. Time to Act! – Ideathon: The second activity will take place in November 2022. Dates TBC

 

  • Who? 30 participants for Academic Freedom 101; 40 participants for Ideathon. *Participants should come from 47 member states of the Council of Europe and parties to the European Cultural Convention (Belarus, Holy See, and Kazakhstan)

 

  • Where? Cluj-Napoca, Romania

 

  • Theme? Academic Freedom, human rights, Academic Integrity, democratic participation.

 

  • Cost? Accommodation, food, programme and travel costs covered by ESU.

 

  • Deadline? 3rd October, 23:59h CEST (Central European Summer Time Zone).

 

Apply here. It’s as easy as that!

 

Are you motivated, eager to learn and ready to travel to Romania? Apply now! 

 

What is the training course ‘Academic Freedom 101’ and workshop ‘Ideathon’ about? 

The training on Academic Freedom aims to raise awareness on the topic and offer innovative solutions on how to defend and promote AF. By addressing topics such as the history of AF in Europe, the current situation in Belarus and the role important actors such as Solidarity Organisation of Students and Academics in Norway (SAIH) Scholars at Risk (SAR), Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) as well as the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE) have in defending academic freedom rights. The training will also serve as a mapping exercise for participants to understand how to defend their constitutional rights and take action on a local level. 

The second activity ‘Ideathon’ allows participants to use the knowledge they have obtained in the first activity to create their own proposal for an initiative or project that will foster the development and/or protection of Academic Freedom in their communities. 

With these two activities, ESU wants to contribute to support participants interested in the topic of AF, to build their skills and knowledge as well as foster new relationships and build solidarity. By having participants all over Europe, the training enables an intersectional approach to be taken. 

30 participants will be selected based on the received application forms for the AF training course, while 40 participants will be selected for Ideathon. 

 

Profile of the participants: 

  • Have to be at least 18 years old. 
  • A good level of English language knowledge. 
  • Want to be actively involved in workshops and activities for the entire duration of the sessions.
  • Participants should be willing to share what they have learned in their member organisation, student union and/or communities following the study session.
  • Open to working in a group of culturally and gender diverse individuals that may have various backgrounds

*Preference in the selection of participants will be given to those wanting to participate in both the AF training course and Ideathon. In case the participants are already knowledgeable on the topic of AF and want to only participate in the second activity, they need to emphasise and elaborate that in their application. 

 

Working language: 

The application must be made in English, and it will take you less than 10 minutes! But remember that there are only so many spots available. With this form, you will apply to the first and/or second activity of the programme, therefore, we will need to know whether you are interested in the entire program or just one activity. 

 

Practical information: 

100% of the expenses relevant to participation (program, international travel, accommodation, food and transportation within the city during the event) are covered by the host organization. Participants must save all receipts for items they wish to have reimbursed. ESU will reimburse all expenses (travel, food, accommodation and visa costs) at the end of the session. 

The speed of the money appearing in your account depends on the currencies, your bank, if all the receipts are present and the workload of ESU’s team, but we will prioritize fully completed reimbursement forms so you receive your money as soon as possible! 🙂 

Participants need to be present for the whole duration of the study session to be reimbursed. 

 

Special needs: 

Upon the request of participants, special assistance will be provided, ensuring accessibility of the study session. Please indicate any special assistance needed in your application form. 

 

Covid-19: 

Even though we are incredibly excited to welcome you all to our training course, the health and safety of all participants remains our highest priority. If the situation in Europe – and especially in the host country – continues to be worrying at best, we will have to decide to move the training online. And if that’s the case, we promise to do our best to recreate the event as we originally imagined it! 

If the COVID situation will allow for our training course to be held in person, all safety measures needed will be put into place including the possibility of wearing masks (depending on the rules of the host country), eating in designated areas, etc. We are figuring this out as the situation advances and we will communicate clearly to all selected participants the measures taken. 

 

Deadline for applying: 

Candidates should complete the online application and submit it no later than the 3rd of October! You can find the application form here

If you require assistance in completing the form or need an alternative format, please feel free to send an email to matteo.vespa@esu-online.org

 

We are looking forward to receiving your applications! 🙂 

 

Participants will be selected based upon their motivation and how well they meet the criteria of the ideal participant profile above. All applicants will be notified of the results of their application via email. 

 

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