Penn Plays a Major Role at a Global Forum on Education, Innovation and Democracy

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820June 25, 2014

Hosted within the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy will play a major role in a global forum focused on democracy June 25-27 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The fourth in a series of global forums addressing how the world can reimagine democratic societies, “Higher Education for Democratic Innovation,” will feature discussions about inclusion and new technologies, case studies, reconciliation in Belfast and broad perspectives from multiple regions around the world.

“Higher Education for Democratic Innovation” is co-sponsored by the Council of Europe, Queen’s University in Belfast, the European Wergeland Centre, the European Students’ Union and the Tallories Network.

As the United States Chair of the International Consortium, Ira Harkavy, the associate vice president and founding director of the Netter Center, will deliver welcoming remarks at receptions and co-moderate the opening and closing plenary sessions with colleagues from Queen’s University and the Council of Europe.

“Global collaboration for research, learning and engagement are necessary if we are to increasingly realize the progressive humane visions of Francis Bacon, Benjamin Franklin, John Dewey, Derek Bok and others,” Harkavy said. “Both Franklin and Dewey emphasized that education, more than economics, politics or anything else, primarily determines the character of a society.”

This kind of interdisciplinary collaboration also serves as one of the primary principles of President Amy Gutmann’s Penn Compact 2020.

Matt Hartley, a professor in Penn’s Graduate School of Education and the executive director of Penn AHEAD, the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, has been active in organizing “Higher Education for Democratic Innovation” and will present a report summarizing the critical issues raised during the forum.

The International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy was founded in 1999 as a vehicle for global collaboration to explain and advance the contributions of higher education in developing democratic culture –- on college campuses, within communities and in the wider society around the world.

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