A conference will be organised on the 17th of March in Paris, France, to explore, discuss and contribute to the visions and foundational principles for free, autonomous and democratic universities, for understanding the needs of universities in regions governed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), and to respond to them through solidarity networks in Europe and globally.
The conference of the Centre for Solidarity and Cooperation with Universities of North and East Syria (CSCUNES) will be organised in collaboration with Laboratoire d’études de genre et de sexualité (LEGS) at Paris 8 University .
The Centre was founded in Paris in November 2021 with the aim of organizing solidarity with the universities of North and East (NE) Syria (Universities of Rojava, Kobani, Afrin [currently under occupation], and Al-Sharq) through joint projects and academic relations.
The objective of the conference will be answering a number of fundamental question, beginning with what the relations between political and social change and higher education is, what kind of university is envisioned to radically alter ways of knowledge production, what the role of anti-capitalist, ecological and feminist as well as decolonial pedagogies in forging social transformation is.
Some other question posed by the organisers are:
“How can we construct ethically and politically responsible universities under the conditions of neoliberal privatization of higher education and the crisis in university governance and academic freedom?”
“What epistemological ruptures an alternative university can offer despite protracted wars and the regimes of political suppression?”
“How can we build autonomous and democratic university structures where the radical democratic participation of every single community member is ensured?”
‘Serious challenges faced due to ongoing embargoes/blockades imposed’
“We bear witness to praxis of universities in the North and East region of Syria since the Rojava Revolution in 2012,” the team of organisers says on the conference Website.
“Despite the ongoing invasions and war in the region, the universities of NE Syria continue to integrate the ideals and achievements of this revolution in the curriculum, research programs, and pedagogical approaches. Yet, these universities face serious challenges in making education accessible to the communities due to ongoing embargoes/blockades imposed by neighbouring hostile states. As solidarity has been very central to sustaining the Rojava Revolution, we believe that it is also indispensable for fostering democratic and feminist universities in the region. Participants of this conference will shed light on the many aspects of higher education and its praxis in NE Syria.”
The conference will be held both in person and on Zoom webinar, and the Keynote Lecture will be live streamed on YouTube.
Those who cannot attend in person can register online for the webinar.