Category Archives: In Europe

Olga Shparaga arrested in Belarus




Olga Shparaga was released from the detention center on October 24. The moment she was released, officials decided to keep her in prison for another 2 weeks. Olga made a decision to escape from Belarus and informed the next day that she was finally safe in Vilnius. Moreover, she shared her plans about writing a book about Belarusian revolution, sisterhood in prisons and civil society, which was born in Belarus very recently.




Our colleague in Belarus, Olga Shparaga, co-founder of the informal educational institution ECLAB (European College of Liberal Arts Belarus) and member of the Coordination Council in Belarus has been detained and held in custody for speaking out and taking part in the regular protests against the government of Alexander Lukashenko.


Olga was first detained with her husband Alexander Adamiants, Director of the Center for European Studies (Minsk) and ECLAB. They were released but after a few days but Olga was detained again and was tried for participating in an “unauthorized mass event”. She has been transferred to Zhodina isolator prison, 60 km from Minsk. Officially, she should be released in 15 days but it is not clear whether this will happen.


We believe that the EU must uphold the right to freedom of speech wherever it may be breached. Belarus, as a successor state of the USSR, is, by implication, a signatory of the Helsinki Agreement of 1976. If Belarus is breaching its own Constitution and laws, it must be held accountable for its international commitments.


We have written to the EU Ambassador to Belarus, Dirk Schuebel, asking him to intervene in order to free Olga. We requested that the Ambassador convey to the Belarusian authorities our strong protest against the injustice that Olga is suffering. Her human right of free speech is also her right as an academic and we will not remain silent until Olga is released and can do what she does best – teach philosophy and educate young Belarusians.


As with the other detained people in Belarus, Ambassador Schuebel stands with Olga Shparaga and will be pleased to meet with her once she has been released. According to Ambassador Scheubel the EU Delegation supports the Belarusian people in their search for justice and in their aspiration to realize their fundamental democratic rights. Since 9 August, the European Union has repeatedly called on the Belarusian authorities to end all disproportionate and unacceptable violence against peaceful demonstrators, to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained illegally, including political prisoners, and to carry out a full and transparent investigation of all alleged violations. Regrettably, the Belarusian authorities have not accepted any offers of dialogue to help to find a peaceful solution to this crisis. The EU has already imposed sanctions on 40 individuals responsible for repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists, as well as for misconduct of the electoral process and is prepared to add additional sanctions as warranted.


ECLAB has been an ECOLAS partner for several years and we have been in contact with and visited that unique institution. It has been operating for almost a decade and has provided a liberal arts type education to high school and university students through informal discussion and seminars. As an act of solidarity ECOLAS encourages its partners to appeal either to the Belarusian Embassies in their countries or to their diplomatic delegations in Belarus to protest against the arrest of our colleague. We sincerely hope that Olga will be released soon.

4th Interdisciplinary Global Governance Symposium

A partner in ECOLAS network, University of Rome Tor Vergata organizes the 4th Interdisciplinary Global Governance Symposium on July 9th, 2020. It is planned to be on line, open to all and it will host 4 distinguished international speakers to debate the word “Community” (chosen by the students before the virus breaking out). For more information, click on the conference website:

Forthcoming events will present innovations in education


As an advocate of student-centered, co-creative education, ECOLAS is happy to share the following announcement of a number of interesting events on educational innovation, organized by a number of ECOLAS members. These might be relevant for educators working at liberal arts and sciences programs across Europe.


Over the past two years, educators from 6 universities across Europe (Freiburg University, King’s College London, Leuphana University, Maastricht University,  Sciences Po, and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa) have been working together in the CREATES Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership to promote responsive, engaging and co-creative education. They have articulated and developed a number of best practices, educational tools and implementation strategies for educational innovation. These resources are intended to support and inspire higher education institutions to enhance their education, focusing on activating pedagogies and high-quality faculty, peer and self-advising. For more information about this project, please see our website:


They would love to share the results of this project with likeminded educators, and would like to invite you to attend the events we are organizing to disseminate the resources they have been working on. These events are tailored towards practical exchange and networking, focusing on the following topics:


The first event provides specific toolkits for teachers towards a co-creative classroom practice and takes place in Freiburg on March 27. Further information and the registration (until February 28th) can be found here.


The second event presents the toolkits for academic advising and takes place in Maastricht on March 31. Further information and the registration (until March 15th) can be found here.


To support the transition towards more co-creative education, the CREATES policy event will present new and innovative tools that policy makers, politicians and associations can use to encourage HEI’s to adopt student-centered learning practices. This will be held in Brussels on May 27. More information can be found here.


The final event is intended for decision-makers at higher education institutions in Europe and will be an opportunity to explore the need for, but also the challenges in, realizing a more responsive and engaged approach to learning. The event will present the CREATES approach to educational innovation, including its rationale, its principles as well as four toolkits of strategies and methods that can be used to implement it. The event will be held in Lüneburg on June 11 and 12. More information can be found here.


Please feel welcome to distribute the message across your networks and in case of any questions, please feel free to contact the project manager at:

Conference Around the Humanities to take place in Cracow, 30-31 May


Sound is the topic of the 3rd International Conference Around the Humanities which will be held from 30 to 31 May 2020 at Jagellonian University in Cracow. The conference is organised by liberal arts inspired Centre for Interdisciplinary Individual Studies in Humanities and will take place as a meeting of students and scholars from various branches of humanities and social studies.


The event invites students, doctoral candidates and researchers examineing the sound subject. The meeting aims to facilitate cooperation among researchers in different domains which opens new frontiers in research and allows scientific challenges to be seen from multiple angles.


For more information and a call for proposals, please, consult the conference website (scroll down for English). Deadline for proposals is 9 February, 2020.

Liberal Education Student Conference 2020 call for proposals

The Fifth Liberal Education Student Conference (2020) will be hosted by the European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania) on 14th-17th May. If you are a student (undergraduate, or graduate) working on topics dealing with Conference’s aims, this is your chance to present your paper (academic or non-academic) and to discuss it with fellow students from all over the world.

The call for proposals is now open and includes following topics:
1)Cultural Heritage and Liberal Arts Education;
2)Humanities in the Age of Technologies;
3)Transforming Liberal Arts Education through Civic Engagement;
4)The International Framework for Combating Climate Change;
5)Liberal arts in current political environment;
6)Performative nature of Liberal Arts Education.

The deadline for proposals is the 10th February 2020 at 23:59 CET.

Please, submit your proposals by emailing the documents in pdf format to

For more info, please, follow LESC website, send your questions to or consult LESC facebook page.

The Annual Smolny International Student Conference calls for papers

It was announced that the application process has begun for the IX Annual Smolny International Student Conference “Interdisciplinarity in Science and Arts: Reality 2.0”! The conference will be held on April 17-19, 2020, at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Saint Petersburg State University.

The detailed information on deadlines and submissions could be found in the file attached or on the conference’s website.

Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference is taking place in Amsterdam

Upcoming Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) Conference is going to be held in Europe (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for the first time. Echoing with the approach of liberal education, this is an international conference for inter or transdisciplinary researchers and educators. This year the conference is hosted by the University of Amsterdam, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies. This year’s theme will be Interdisciplinarity in Global Contexts and more information can be found on conference website. The conference organisers welcome proposals until 15 April, 2019.

Erasmus Prize for the Liberal Arts and Sciences 2018 at University College Freiburg

University College Freiburg has awarded its annual Erasmus Prize on June 6, 2018, in the Meckelhalle (Sparkasse Freiburg). This year, for the first time, the Prize was awarded to two Liberal Arts and Sciences graduates: Roosje van der Kamp from Amsterdam University College and Felisa Mesuere from University College Freiburg.


Roosje van der Kamp connects in her Bachelor thesis “A Modern Disease: A Philosophical Inquiry into Kierkegaard’s Concept of Depression and the Age of Reflection” Kierkegaard’s critique of modernity to his concept of depression and places this in the context of modern discourses on depression. By connecting philosophy with psychological and psychiatric perspectives, her work contributes to a better understanding of depression in today’s society.


Felisa Mesuere combines in her Bachelor thesis “Playing with Morals – Gender Ambiguity in Monteverdi’s Oper L’Orfeo” approaches from history, music and gender studies in order to analyze gender ambiguity in Claudio Monteverdi’s early 17th-century opera L’Orfeo. Her research focuses on the nuances of masculinity in L’Orfeo and shows that music was a ground of contestation over new forms of political organization and social arrangements.


The Erasmus Prize for Liberal Arts and Sciences is funded by the Sparkasse Freiburg-Nördlicher Breisgau and underscores the epistemological focus of the Liberal Arts and Sciences study program at University College Freiburg. The prize distinguishes research work that, in the treatment of its topic, considers questions of epistemology and/or history of science in an exemplary manner. Furthermore, the prize aims to highlight works that make a substantial contribution to methodological and theoretical discourse across disciplinary boundaries.


Another highlight of the award ceremony was the UCF lecture 2018 by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Jürgen Mittelstraß, professor of philosophy and director of the Konstanz Science Forum. His keynote speech was on: “Fröhliche Wissenschaft? Wissenschaft und Universität zwischen Erkenntnis- und Verwertungsidealen” (Joyful Science? Science And University Between the Ideals of Cognition And Utilization).

Here you can find pictures and more from this year’s ceremony and here you can find information about the Prize.

Third Liberal Education Student Conference will take place in Utrecht (NL) in May


From the 10th till 13th of May 2018, bachelor students from three different Liberal Education programs seated in Utrecht, The Netherlands, will co-host the third edition of the European Liberal Education Student Conference (LESC). They hope to welcome 110+ Liberal Education students from all over Europe to University College Utrecht Campus. Together, these students will reflect on the relation between Liberal Education and the needs of society, with a central question of the conference:


What does our changing society need from Liberal Education, and to what extent is your Liberal Education programme providing this?


Over the course of a long weekend, the students will engage in discussions, debates and lectures regarding this theme. The conference will be hinged on a number of lectures and panel debates from keynote-speakers. All students will write a contributions beforehand that will be discussed in small track sessions. Next to this, students will participate in several activities, case-studies and workshops that help them reflect on their own education programmes. Last, but certainly not least, all participants will get to know the iconic city of Utrecht through accommodation with, and personal tours from, local students.


Are you interested, or are you or your students part of a European Liberal Education program and would you like (them) to be part of this conference? Send an e-mail to and let us know! Visit for more information.

Future of European Education Echoes Liberal Arts and Sciences


The European Commission has recently released a statement setting out its vision for the creation of a European Education Area by 2025.  The statement includes several areas that are of interest to those interested in undergraduate education in the EU and the liberal arts and sciences movement in particular.


Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, states clearly the needs for Europe’s future in terms reminiscent of the very objectives of a liberal arts and sciences education: “As we look to Europe’s future, we need to equip ourselves with an ambitious, shared agenda for how we can use culture and learning as a driver for unity.  Education is the key, because it is education that equips us with the skills we need to become active members of our increasingly complex societies.  It is education that helps us adapt to a rapidly changing world, to develop a European identity, to understand other cultures and to gain the new skills one needs in a society that is mobile, multicultural and increasingly digital.” 


This statement echoes many of the characteristics of the liberal arts and sciences outlined in the recently published Guide to Emerging Liberal Arts and Sciences Practices in the EU – the cultivation of cognitive skills in problem solving, communication, analytical thinking; the importance of citizenship and its responsibilities; the cultivation of these skills to adapt to rapid change and to encourage life-long learning.


Among those aspects that the Commission designates for inclusion in a European Area of Education and related to LAS objectives are:


  1. Increasing mobility for faculty and students
  2. Greater cooperation on curricula development
  3. Promoting life-long learning
  4. Creating a network of European universities
  5. Preserving cultural heritage

For more information, see the full text of the Commission’s report.



Two vacancies at Amsterdam University College

Amsterdam University College currently has two vacancies for Head of Studies Academic Core and Head of Studies Sciences. Candidates are welcome to apply before 16 October 2017. Please see the vacancies below:





Conference: European Liberal Arts Education: renewal and re-formation

Friday 1st September – Saturday 2nd September 2017 at the University of Winchester, UK


Last year Amsterdam University College held a conference on the resurgence of the liberal arts and sciences and core texts courses in Europe in association with ACTC (Association of Core Texts and Courses). It brought people together around a number of important themes and questions, such as the meaning of a well-rounded liberal education, the reading of and education in core texts, pedagogy, assessment techniques and big questions. Papers and discussions ranged from exploring the content and structure of a core texts curriculum to the importance of philosophical, historical, literary and cultural traditions and texts. These discussions were not only collegiate in character; they also opened the door for further links between colleagues, programmes, teaching and research across European institutions.


The 2nd conference at the University of Winchester UK in September 2017, in cooperation with ACTC (Association of Core Texts and Courses), seeks to continue and build on these discussions. Any questions please email


On the website the deadline for proposals has passed but for any enquiries regarding submission of paper proposals as a result of publicity on the ECOLAS website please contact Rebekah Howes directly at

Second Year of Liberal Education Student Conference Again in Germany

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:

  1. The Future of Health: How Long Should We Live? What Constitutes Disease?
  2. Distrust in Science and Institutionalised Authority: The Rise of Populism and Alternative Facts.
  3. Human Rights and Intersectionality: How to Balance Unity and Diversity in a Globalized World.
  4. 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 or visit the website at //

ECOLAS supports the 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference

Students of Studium Individuale from Leuphana University of Lüneburg and Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Freiburg host the 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference (1st LESC) taking place May 12th – 15th in Lüneburg. Issues such as the future sustainablitity of universities, the contemporary importance of higher education, broad academic studies, personal development, and the ability to act responsibly will be broached. Self-responsible organisation of studies and an academic confrontation of current societal questions constitute the educational approach of a contemporary Liberal Education.


Many universities have introduced undergraduate programmes of the Liberal Arts and Sciences in the last years. The organisers of the 1st LESC now intend to investigate what the young row of European Liberal Education Colleges stands for. Does it correct undersirable developments after the Bologna reform? Or does it solely aim at preparing their students for life and work in globalised societies and labour markets?


Supported by ECOLAS financial grant, ca. 80 students and experts from all over Europe are going to gather in Lüneburg for four days in order to discuss these questions. Speakers will include Hans Adriaansens (ECOLAS Executive Board member). The Conference is held in English and was organised by and for students of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and shall thus also serve for a self-positioning: Which answer does Liberal Education present to the crisis of European Higher Education?


You are cordially invited to take part in the conference and visit e.g. one of the following events:
May 14th, 6:30-8:30pm: Panel discussion “Liberal education: The way forward?” Jürgen Kaube (Publisher Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Katharina Dermühl (Kiron Higher Education for Refugees), Hans Adriaansens (ECOLAS, Founder of University College Utrecht and “Initiator” of the European Liberal Education movement) and Megha Harish (Student at King’s College London) debate the status quo after 15 years of Liberal Education in Europe. Volker Balli, academic director of the Individual Studies programme at Leuphana University will be moderating this highlight of an extraordinary conference.

Venue: Museum Lüneburg.


May 13th, 6:30-7:30pm: “Green Metaphysics: Sustainable liberal arts education”, Nigel Tubbs (Dean University of Winchester, England)

Venue: Lecture Hall 4, Leuphana University of Lüneburg.


May 12th, 6:30-7:30pm: “Liberal Arts as Teaching Reflective Judgment: Economic, Democratic and Personal Implications”,Teun Dekker (Dean University College Maastricht, Niederlande)

Venue: Museum Lüneburg.


For more information visit: and

Liberal Arts Programme At King’s College London Seeks Deputy Director

King’s College London is seeking an interdisciplinary academic and educator for the role of Deputy Director of its Liberal Arts programme based in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.


The post is a permanent academic lectureship with a strong focus on interdisciplinary research and education (and their mutual integration), educational leadership, and the student experience. It forms an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary activity in this innovative and rapidly growing area of undergraduate education. The successful candidate will have an interdisciplinary mindset, will be experienced and effective in undergraduate teaching and assessment, and will have a strong commitment to student learning.




Please, send your queries to

Call For Papers For The First European Liberal Education Student Conference

In the past decade many European universities have introduced new undergraduate programs based on Liberal Arts and Sciences. What is Liberal Education and what could it be? Student committees at liberal arts programs of two German universities (Leuphana University Lüneburg and University College Freiburg) announce the 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference to take place from 12th until 15th May at Leuphana University Lüneburg in Northern Germany. It will provide a platform to:

  • discuss the various perspectives of students on European Liberal Education
  • publish transparently selected conference contributions in an edited volume or academic journal
  • bring together students of the Liberal Arts & Sciences as well as like-minded people from all over Europe in the metropolitan region of Hamburg
  • start the creation of a European Liberal Education student network

Visit the conference website for more details. The call for papers is open until 29th February.

First Liberal Arts and Sciences and Core Texts Conference a great success

The first Liberal Arts and Sciences and Core Texts Conference took place at Amsterdam University College from 11-12 September. Welcoming guests from around the world, the conference was a great success in opening a dialogue about the role of core texts in a liberal arts and sciences education. This innovative contribution to Dutch higher education also serves as an inspiration across the Europe.

More information, highlights and a film of the conference can be found here.

A Conference on Core Texts in European Educational Context in Amsterdam

The Liberal Arts and Sciences Education and Core Texts in the European Context Conference will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 11-12, at Amsterdam University College, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  The conference will examine the role of “core texts” within the framework of liberal arts and sciences education as a way to meet the challenge of modern higher education in a unique way.  Core texts are defined as those which have or are likely to stand the test of time and that provide the foundation for shared discourse within either Western or non-Western traditions.  According to the organizers, the conference welcomes papers that address “reflection on questions about the meaning of a well-rounded liberal education, the role and meaning of core texts in European higher education, pedagogical aims, teaching pedagogies, assessment techniques, the selection of texts, core texts and big questions, and so forth.”

For more information, please visit this site.

University College Roosevelt will host a seminar on teaching excellence

The Excellent Learning through Teaching Excellence seminar will take place on June 22-25 at the premises of University College Roosevelt, Middelburg, Netherlands. The seminar is organized in cooperation with Harvard University every year and is designed as a four-day intensive summer program to develop and enhance teaching excellence of senior instructors. It is looking for motivated and experienced teachers who are willing and able to spread the knowledge gained during the seminar among their colleagues. All courses are designed to inspire, motivate and teach new skills enabling teachers to get the best out of themselves and their students. All details about this opportunity can be found in this leaflet.

IE University, Madrid hosts fifth annual Conference on Reinventing Higher Education

The fifth annual Conference on Reinventing Higher Education was held at IE University, Madrid, October 20-21.  Organized in collaboration with the British Council, the Conference yearly brings together university administrators, students, education policy makers and media experts to discuss issue related to the current status and future evolution of higher education, with particular attention to the EU.

King’s College hosts Liberal Arts Conference in London

King’s College, London, recently held a conference to examine current thinking in the UK about the liberal arts in universities and schools.  A key objective of the conference, titled The Future of Liberal Arts, was to discuss ideas about the place of liberal arts education in the context of the future of higher education in the UK.  In addition to participants from King’s College other contributors included representatives from St. Mary’s University College, Belfast, Leuphana Lüneburg Universität, Germany, Richmond College, London, University of Exeter, UK, Winchester University, UK, University College, London, and Imperial College, London.  You may see the conference program here.