Strasbourg 20 - 21 June 2019


The Global Forum will be co-organized by the Council of Europe, the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy*, the Organization of American States, and other partners, notably the International Association of Universities and the Magna Charta Observatory.

Academic freedom and institutional autonomy are becoming increasingly important components of a global discussion of how democracy develops – and how it should develop. The reasons for this are partly the growing pressure to which these fundamental democratic values are subjected in many countries. There is also a need to develop a more sophisticated understanding of how academic freedom and institutional autonomy can best be developed and defended in modern, complex societies. The Global Forum intends to examine a broad range of issues related to academic freedom and institutional autonomy, from politically motivated attacks on them to the effect of general public policies and legislation. It is intended that the Global Forum will also provide input to the 2020 Ministerial Conference of the European Higher Education Area.

The Forum will gather some 100-150 higher education leaders and representatives of public authorities and NGOs from Europe and the United States, as well as smaller numbers from Australia, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. 

The working language of the Forum will be English.

We envisage that the main outcomes of the forum will be:

  • An increased commitment to higher education’s contribution to developing and advancing a culture of democracy.
  • A better understanding of how academic freedom and institutional autonomy relate to the future of democracy.
  • A volume in the Council of Europe Higher Education Series.


Programme (last updated 20 June 2019)

Declaration - June 21, 2019



An overview of aspects of academic freedom and intuitional autonomy: (document originally submitted to the Bologna Follow Up Group, with the Council of Europe as lead author).

Magna Charta Observatory:

The EUA Autonomy Scorecard:

*The International Consortium membership is comprised of the United States (represented by a Steering Committee from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, Anchor Institutions Task Force, Association of American Colleges & Universities, Campus Compact, Democracy Commitment, and NASPA-Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education), Australia (represented by Engagement Australia), Ireland (represented by Campus Engage Ireland), South Africa (represented by Universities South Africa), and the United Kingdom (represented by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement).

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