Council of Europe

AAC&U has been a member of the US Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy (IC) since the latter's inception over a decade ago. Through its involvement in the IC, AAC&U collaborates with the Council of Europe in their mission to highlight and advance the contributions of higher education to democracy on college and university campuses, their local communities and the wider society. Other members of the IC US Steering Committee include the American Council on Education, the Association of State Colleges and Universities, and Campus Compact. The U.S.-based Consortium is housed at the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania.

Declaration on Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and the Future of Democracy

The Global Forum on Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and the Future of Democracy was held at Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg on 20 – 21 June 2019.

"The Global Forum brought together perspectives and experiences from Europe, North America, and other parts of the world to develop a better and more nuanced understanding of the relationship of academic freedom and institutional autonomy to democratic culture, as well as the role of higher education in developing that culture.  The conference also helped higher education leaders as well as public authorities develop policies that increase higher education’s contribution to democracy in modern, complex societies."

Participants in the Global Forum adopted this Declaration

Declaration on Higher Education and Democratic Culture

The forum Higher Education and Democratic Culture: Citizenship, Human Rights and Civic Responsibility sponsored by the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR) was held at Council of Europe headquarters in 2006 in Strasbourg, France. 

The declaration states that “Democracy cannot exist without strong institutions and sound legislation, but it also cannot work without being based on democratic culture. Education and schooling are decisive forces shaping the democratic development of societies; and universities, in turn, are strategic institutions for the democratic development of schooling and societies.”

American college and university presidents were invited to sign the Council of Europe's Declaration on Higher Education and Democratic Culture

AAC&U has an ongoing commitment to promoting personal and social responsibility as a learning outcome in a liberal education.

About the Council of Europe
Established in 1949, the Council of Europe defends human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, develops continent-wide agreements to standardize member countries' social and legal practices, and promotes awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures.

Europe’s oldest political organization, the Council’s membership totals 46 countries, including 21 countries from Central and Eastern Europe. For more information, please visit the Council of Europe website.