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Truth, Justice, and Liberty

Public Lecture Series “Veritas, Justitia, Libertas – Contours of a Value-oriented University of the Future” to Be Continued during the 2018/2019 Fall/Winter Semester

№ 285/2018 from Oct 24, 2018

Veritas, Justitia, Libertastruth, justice, and freedom: The motto of Freie Universität is also the motto of a lecture series organized to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the university’s founding. The series began during the 2018 summer semester and is being continued in the 2018/2019 winter semester. The series aims to address the significance of these basic principles with regard to current societal debates and areas of tension. Within the series Veritas, Iustitia, Libertas – Konturen einer wertorientierten Universität der Zukunft, scholars will discuss academic freedom, authoritarian structures, the internationalization of universities, and global responsibility from both national and international perspectives. During the winter semester there will be three presentations: the first one on November 6 will address the freedom of speech. The series will also include festivities celebrating the founding of Freie Universität that will take place on Ernst Reuter Day on December 4 in the Henry Ford Building. The lectures and panel discussions are open to the public. Admission is free. Some require advance registration.

The founding principles of Freie Universität are just as relevant today as ever: truth, justice, freedom. Populist movements and sentiments against science are growing, and authoritarian governments worldwide are threatening academic freedom. At the same time, universities are responsible for educational justice, social balance, and progress. Under these circumstances, universities and research institutions must constantly redefine and defend their own canon of values.

At the event on November 6, organized by the Center for International Cooperation in cooperation with the Dahlem Humanities Center, both at Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Philosopher R. Jay Wallace from the University of California in Berkeley and historian Prof. Dr. Paul Nolte from Freie Universität will discuss the value of freedom of speech on campus. The Free Speech Movement in the United States during the 1964–65 academic year started at the University of Berkeley, which is still the site of fierce conflicts over the issue. Philosopher Prof. Dr. Jay Wallace, one of two directors of a recently established Free Speech Commission, will describe the movement, which is also often discussed controversially at Freie Universität. Paul Nolte, the director of the Dahlem Humanities Center, will draw on the history of Freie Universität to reflect on current debates in Germany, which differ significantly from those in the United States.

On November 20, political scientist Gülay Çağlar (Freie Universität), historian Leyla Dakhli (Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin), and Michael Keith, director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford, will discuss global responsibility and migration. The topic includes the integration of refugees and the admission of refugees as students as well as research grants for scholars who are at risk in their homelands. In addition, they will address how the current political and social debates on migration challenge academic knowledge production.

The lecture series was organized by Dr. Florian Kohstall at the Center for International Cooperation, Freie Universität.

Ernst Reuter Day: Anniversary Celebration – 70 Years at Freie Universität

Freie Universität Berlin was founded on December 4, 1948, by students and professors who wanted to be able to teach, learn, and do research in an environment that was free of political influence. They were supported by the American Allies and Berlin politicians with substantial support, in particular, from the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Ernst Reuter. The anniversary of the founding of Freie Universität is celebrated annually on Ernst Reuter Day. This year the events on Ernst Reuter Day will be the culminating highlight of the festivities throughout the year marking the 70th anniversary of the founding.

The lecture series of the Open Lecture Halls of Freie Universität running through February 2019 include three more series: one commemorating Lise Meitner (Zum Gedenken an Lise Meitner), one devoted to late antiquity (Die Spätantike – eine expandierende Epoche?), and another on mid-20th century student life in film (Zwischen Liebe und Revolte – Studentische Lebensformen im Film der Nachkriegszeit). These lectures are open to students as well as any interested persons. Admission is free.


  • November 6, 2018, 4:15 p.m.: Free Speech on Campus: A Challenge for Universities in the U.S. and in Germany (in English)
    Freie Universität, Seminar Center, Room L116, 14195 Berlin.
    Please register by November 2, 2018, by email: cic@fu-berlin.de 
  • November 20, 2018, 4:15 p.m.: Global Responsibility in Times of Migration: What Role for the University? (in English)
    Freie Universität, Seminar Center, Room L116, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin
  • December 4, 2018 Ernst Reuter Day – Anniversary Celebration: 70 Years at Freie Universität
    Henry Ford Building, Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin
    More Information: www.fu-berlin.de/70jahre

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