The main theme for the 29th annual conference is directed to the topic:
Democracy and Educational Leadership

Education has an important role in maintaining democracy. As John Dewey stridently argued,

Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.

This is mirrored in the words of past US President Roosevelt who said;

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

Since the 1970s, the world has experienced what has been called ‘the third wave of democracy’. During this time, the number of countries classified as democracies increased from 35 to 110 and many researchers argue that this has had a profound global benefit. This view is supported by data showing that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty decreased from 43% in 1993 to 17% in 2011. Also, it is noted that the percentage of children dying before the age of five decreased from 22% in 1960 to less than 5% in 2016. But despite these positive outcomes, there are serious negative concerns, too. For example, there is evidence supporting the view that in many European democracies the political support for European integration is heavily aligned with those who will benefit most, namely the highly educated minority. Here it would seem that democracy is creating its own antagonist – inequality. Even in the US, often heralded as being at the forefront of democracy, there is growing concern that the interdependency of democracy and capitalism is promoting serious financial, social, and cultural inequalities throughout the country to the point where some writers are now calling for a more socialist inclined political environment.

Thus, today’s democracy is under threat for many reasons. Larry Diamond, researcher on democracy, characterizes our time as one of “democratic recession” were democracy is falling from its revered position almost all over the world. The financial crisis, many civil wars, the refugee crisis, terror attacks, Brexit, the election of leaders with anti democratic values, interference with elections in other countries, the creation of The Islamic State, resistance against immigration and growth in populistic movements, extremism and radicalization are some examples of what is now threatening democracy.

Indeed, Francis Fukuyama argues that democracy has become a question of identity and dignity instead of financial equity. He points out that while the political left-wing focuses on marginalized groups as black people, women, latinos, LGBT society and refugees, the political right-wing redefine themselves as patriots, who want to protect the traditional national identity, but often this is closely aligned with a narrowing of views and attitudes associated with ethnicity and religion.

Clearly, it would be foolhardy to ignore these threats to democracy. Perhaps we have ignored John Dewey’s advice and have not sought to re-create democracy anew with each generation. We have taken it for granted that democracy is self-perpetuating – its benefits insure its own future. Clearly, this is not the case. How is democracy being experienced in your country? What does this mean for education? For your institution? Your School?

However, ENIRDELM is facing unprecedented challenges this year as we cope with the pandemic of the coronavirus, which we still don´t fully know its consequences. All universities, schools and kindergartens are now closed in Norway. Thus, we don´t know for sure if the ENIRDELM conference will be able to proceed as planned in September 2020. But, during this tough time it is more important than ever that we strive to remain connected in our network and continue to seek ways to share experiences, research and different policy approaches however possible. It is very useful for each of us to be provided with new professional knowledge and insight for how different thematic areas are being addressed in your country. Through comparation we can learn a lot from each other. To this end, regardless of the impact of coronavirus, all accepted ENIRDELM Conference abstracts will be published and we will provide a process for publishing full papers.

Practical information

Thus, we invite you to address a perspective on democracy and educational leadership as it relates to your situation by submitting an abstract aligned with one or more of following thematic areas:  

  • Workplace democracy
  • Democracy and leadership
  • Educating for democracy
  • Participation in education
  • Democracy, decision-making and conflict management
  • Education for citizenship
  • Education for equity
  • Education for critical thinking
  • Education of human rights
  • Questions of identity, dignity and acknowledging

Send in an abstract of your paper with max 300 words. Deadline for submitting papers is 21st of May. The abstract will be blind peer reviewed.  You will know whether it is accepted or not within the 10th of June. No matter if the Conference is canceled or not all accepted paper proposal will be published in a book of abstracts. And we will continue the process of publishing full papers. Deadline for full paper is 18th of October 2021. If we are so lucky that the conference can be held you will have 15 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes with discussion.

To make an online proposal:
1. Read the guidelines which should be used in preparing the papers..
2. Open the online form and submit details with your manuscript.