After the great success of last year’s 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference (LESC) at Leuphana University Lüneburg, the second LESC will take place at University College Freiburg from May 04th – 7th. As last year’s topic “What is Liberal Education – and what could it be” was intentionally phrased relatively broadly, this year’s conference goes by the topic “A Complex World Needs Complex Thinking: The Potentials and Limits of Liberal Education in approaching Contemporary Challenges”. As exemplary challenges, prospective participants were asked to write a paper connecting features of Liberal Education with one of four following challenges:
- The Future of Health: How Long Should We Live? What Constitutes Disease?
- Distrust in Science and Institutionalised Authority: The Rise of Populism and Alternative Facts.
- Human Rights and Intersectionality: How to Balance Unity and Diversity in a Globalized World.
- Adapting to Technology or Adapting Technology: Labour and Power-Relations in the Digital Age.
In these four different tracks, different takes on Liberal Education will be examined considering the respective contemporary challenges. The results from the tracks will be discussed in a final student discussion, where commonalities and discrepancies between the tracks shall be given meaning.
The first track session will be devoted to conceptualising the challenge they are focused on. In the second track session, resulting educational challenges will be extracted from various facets of establishing key demands for problem-oriented Liberal Education in the last track session. Experts from the respective fields will join the track sessions to support the discussion.
Furthermore, there will be three keynote speeches over the course of the conference, that follow a similar scheme as the track sessions. The first by Prof. Dr. Heiner Schanz will open the event. Prof. Schanz has created an award winning graduate program in “Environmental Governance”; finding common ground in environmental science as well as implementing policy in this field is one of the most prominent examples of a complex global challenge. Secondly, Prof. Dr. Veronika Lipphardt will talk about DNA-profiling in criminological practice; academic background at University College Freiburg allows her to talk not only about the faced problem but also about educational challenges. Lastly, Dr. Helen Brookman, Director of Liberal Arts & Pro-Vice-Dean at King’s College London, will talk about Liberal Education on Saturday morning to stimulate thought for the third track session as well as the final student discussion.
The conference brings together 65 student participants from 18 European programmes whose travel costs to Freiburg were sponsored by ECOLAS. Follow the conference on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lesconference/ or visit the website at http://www.lesconference.eu/