As the world in which we are living becomes increasingly globalized and connected, more and more American universities have established or are considering establishing campuses and centers in many other countries. In parallel with this, we are simultaneously witnessing a drift away from democracy and the protection of human rights and academic freedom toward less democratic and more authoritarian governments in many countries including the US. So, we learn of student spies in Chinese university classrooms, the forced eviction of Central European University from Budapest by the Orban government, the cancelation of a program on dissent at Yale-NUS in Singapore, and much earlier the expulsion of the European Humanities University from Belarus. This seems a combustible mix and one from which serious questions emerge about whether and why US universities should be operating in countries that do not honor the bedrock principles of academic freedom and free inquiry upon which American and Western higher education is based.
What are the goals these offshore US campuses and centers in such countries aim to achieve? Can they be achieved? Must the curricula in the courses taught be altered to comply with the limits on free inquiry either implicitly or explicitly imposed? If US students attend these campuses ,are they free to travel and talk openly? These are but a few of the questions that arise in this context.
Join us on December 2, 2019 at 6:00 PM in Arnhold Hall at 55 West 13th Street for a lively conversation about the pros and cons of U.S. universities in authoritarian countries sponsored by the New School’s Center for Public Scholarship in which panelists will grapple with these difficult questions, and address how their respective institutions have navigated these murky waters. The discussion will be moderated by major figures in the academic and human rights world, Jonathan Fanton, Aryeh Neier, and Kenneth Prewitt and the panelists will represent 6 universities which operate or are considering operating campuses in these difficult and repressive environments: Eli Friedman (Cornell University), Carol Kim (The New School), William C. Kirby (Harvard University), Pericles Lewis (Yale University), Denis Simon (Duke Kunshan University), and Catharine Stimpson (New York University) as well as Teng Biao, an exiled Chinese academic and human rights lawyer currently hosted by Hunter College.
You can register for this event here.