First conference of the Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas

Academic freedom

By University of Ottawa

Human Rights Research and Education Centre, HRREC

Photo group CAFA Conference
The First Conference about Academic Freedom hosted by the Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA) took place in Monterrey, Mexico on November 10 and 11, 2022.

The conference featured speakers from the American Hemisphere, Asia and Europe and touched upon the situations in Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the United States, among other countries of interest. In addition, panelists discussed ways of implementing the Inter-American Principles on Academic Freedom and University Autonomy issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in December 2021, as well as the impact of censorship, legislative interference and gender violence in terms of academic freedom in higher education settings.

The event also featured the global launch of Free to Think 2022, the Scholars at Risk’s annual report documenting attacks on higher education worldwide. This report includes contributions from our Human Rights Clinic since 2018. The 2022 edition analyzes 391 attacks on higher education communities in 65 countries and territories, including violent attacks on universities, wrongful imprisonment and prosecutions of scholars, and attacks on student expression. The document “calls on states, higher education communities, civil society, and the public to respond: to help protect scholars, students, and higher education institutions; to help protect everyone’s freedom to think, question, and share ideas.”

“This was a great experience and we could feel a very positive energy among the participants and contributors! We look forward to further developing this project with our colleagues at Scholars at Risk and the Universidad de Monterrey”, indicated Viviana Fernandez, Assistant Director at HRREC. The uOttawa/HRREC delegation included Salvador Herencia-Carrasco, Director of the Human Rights Clinic, Catalina Arango, Monitoring Coordinator of CAFA and member of the Centre, Paige Holland, student participating in the Scholars at Risk in the Americas project and Viviana Fernandez.

For further coverage of the conference, you can go to the Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA) website. You can also read some of the local articles written about the conference: