Conference on Religion, Beliefs, Philosophical Convictions and Education

From passive toleration to active appreciation of diversity

The conference is organised by

With the support of

hosted by
the City of Bruges,
the Province of West-Flanders,
the Governor of West-Flanders

The opening and closing keynote addresses
are open to the public and the media.
The other parts of the conference will be
limited to conference participants only.

Conference accommodation:
Hotel De Tuilerieën, Dijver 7, 8000 Brugge, Belgium

Conference venue:
Provinciaal Hof, Markt 2, 8000 Brugge, Belgium


Preliminary programme

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

18:30 Conference Welcome
Venue: Town Hall of Bruges, Burg 12, Brugge,
Room: Gothic room, 2nd floor

Opening Session 
Piet Akkermans Lectures embedded in the Bruges Conference
Welcome by Mayor Patrick Moenaert

Introduced by: Jan De Groof (College of Europe, University of Tilburg – TIAS, UNESCO Chargé de Mission (2007-2009), Government Commissioner)


Riza Mahmut Türmen (Formerly Justice for Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights)
“Religious Education in the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights”

Hent de Vries (Director of The Humanities Center of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences – Johns Hopkins University)
“A Religious Canon For Europe? Policy, Education, and the Post-Secular Challenge”

20:00 Plenary Discussion
Moderator: Wim van de Donk (University of Tilburg, Her Majesty’s Governor)
20:30 Mayoral Reception at Townhall of Bruges
Room: Salons 1st floor
21:30 Walking Dinner for Sponsors and Attendees at Hotel De Tuilerieën
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 – Morning
Moderator: Jan De Groof
Room: Provincial Court of Bruges at the Provinciaal Hof, Markt 2, 8000 Brugge
9:00 Introduction by: Jan De Groof and Wim van de Donk
9:30 Plenary Session A:
Opening Address “From Passive Toleration to Active Appreciation of Religious Differences”
Opening Speaker: Herman Van Rompuy (President of Europe, Former Prime Minister of Belgium)
10:00 “Religious Conflicts and the Principle of State Neutrality” 
Speaker: Juliane Kokott (Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union, Professor at the University of St. Gallen)
10:30 “Values and Religion. The Transmission of Values and Interreligious Dialogue Today”   
Speaker: Hans Joas (Max Weber Center, Erfurt, and University of Chicago)
11:00 Break

René van der Linden (President of the Senate of the Dutch Parliament, Former President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly)
Roberto Toniatti (Trento University) 
Erik Borgman (Forum – Commissie Religie & Publiek Domein)
Hans-Peter Füssel (Humboldt University)

Followed by Roundtable Discussion

13:00 Lunch
Room: Residence of the Governor of West-Flanders – Mr Paul Breyne
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 – Afternoon
Moderator: Wim van de Donk
Room: Provincial Court of Bruge at the Provinciaal Hof, Markt 2, 8000 Brugge
14:00 Plenary Session B:
“Desecularisation of the Public Sphere – the Specificity of Islam in the European Public Sphere in the Light of the Recent Debates on Minaret and Niqab and what it means for Educational Systems in Europe”
Speaker: Joselyn Cesari (Harvard University)

Gabriel van den Brink (University of Tilburg) 
Mona Siddiqi (University of Glasgow)
Riza Mahmut Türmen (former Turkish judge at the European Court of Human Rights)

Followed by Roundtable Discussion



16:00 Plenary Session C:
“Balancing Freedom of Religious and Philosophical Convictions in a Democratic Society”
Speaker: Albie Sachs (Formerly Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa)

Michalis Stathopoulos (University of Athens)
Paul De Hert (Free University of Brussels)
Hent de Vries (Johns Hopkins University)

Followed by Roundtable Discussio


Walking Dinner for Sponsors and Attendees at Hotel De Tuilerieën

Thursday, December 9, 2010 – Morning
Moderator: Wim van de Donk
Room: Provincial Court of Bruges at the Provinciaal Hof, Markt 2, 8000 Brugge

Plenary Session D:
“Values or Reasons: the Contribution of Public Education to a Culture of Democratic Difference”
Speaker: Christoph Möllers (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)

“Religion and Belief in Higher Education Institutional Practice: Introducting A Research Project and a Leadership Project from the UK”
Speaker: Paul Weller (University of Derby – UK)


Luce Pépin (Consultant, Network of European Foundations – NEF)
Wibren van der Burg (Erasmus School of Law – Netherlands)
Pedro Barbas Homem (University of Lisbon – Portugal)

Followed by Roundtable Discussion



11:30 Plenary Session E:
“Balancing Provisions of Non-discrimination, Equal Educational Opportunities, and Identity of Non-governmental Schools”
Speaker: Ben Vermeulen (Council of State of the Netherlands)

Dympna Glenndenning (Barrister – Ireland)
Chakib Benmakhlouf and Haytham Rahmah (Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe)
Verhack Etienne (European Committee for Catholic Education)

Followed by Roundtable Discussion

12:30 Lunch
Room: Residence of the Governor of West-Flanders – Mr Paul Breyne
Thursday, December 9, 2010 – Afternoon
Moderator: Jan De Groof
Room: Provincial Court of Bruges at the Provinciaal Hof, Markt 2, 8000 Brugge
13:30 Plenary Session F:
“From Cultural Conflicts to Toleration and Appreciation in and through Education – Best Practices”
Speaker: Professor the Baroness Afshar OBE, AcSS  (University of York – UK)

Wil Derkse (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen – Netherlands)
Charles Glenn (Boston University – USA)
Kishore Singh (Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education – United Nations)

Followed by Roundtable Discussion


Closing Session 
Report of  the Task Force
Gracienne Lauwers (University of Antwerp – Belgium)
Closing Lecture
“National Identity and Multicultural Values: the Constitutional Approach of Positive Secularism”
 Roberto Toniatti (Trento University)
Jan De Groof  and Wim van de Donk

16:00 Closing Reception
Exposition ‘Van Eyck tot Dürer’in the Groeningemuseum, Dijver 12

programme (pdf) – list of participants (pdf)

Organizers or sponsors cannot be held responsible for any accidents during the conference or damage to property of the participants. 

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