The conference, The University and the Nation, was held in February 2013 in order to foster a discussion about academic values and the relationship between the university and the nation in Tunisia and the surrounding region.
The organizers were especially concerned with recent incidents of intimidation and violence against universities and university personnel, most notably at the University of Manouba. The nature of the conflict between secularism and Islamism, which had engulfed the university, had manifested a situation in which violence had denied students, faculty, and administrators their right to freedom and security in education. The conference, hosted at the University of Manouba on February 21-22, 2013, was designed to foster regional dialogue about academic values and to find ways to promote such values in newly democratic societies. It featured over 30 expert panelists, representing academic institutions and civil society organizations from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, and the United States. Panelists discussed the situations facing their own universities and nations, and then offered observations and conclusions to the conference. The conference sought to provide an in-depth look at the Tunisian experience and to use the international delegation to draw parallels between Tunisia and the region at large. Scholars at Risk and NYU’s Center for Dialogue produced this report to share and continue the conversation around academic values in Tunisia and the region.