Our program of activities include:
Once the semester has started, students, staff and teachers are all invited to ‘short walks on freedom’. These will be organized flexibly, weather permitting, and always start at 13:00 with a 15 minute introduction in our outdoor classroom, followed by a walking discussion on the Bulwarks. Interested Middelburgers are, of course, welcome to join as well.
Here’s what you can expect from the some of the walks:
- Dean and philosopher Bert van den Brink discusses freedom and (in)visibility on the basis of Ralph Ellison’s classic novel ‘Invisible Man’. What does the fact that, as citizens, we have the power to either recognize or misrecognize the humanity of others mean for our interpersonal relations?
- Cognitive scientist Gerda Andringa takes a disciplinary perspective on freedom related to corona, and the elderly. What are the consequences of the degree to which old people have been confined during corona?
- Economist Bert Mosselmans introduces the idea of a 5thfreedom, the freedom to compete. Following Adam Smith and Theodore Roosevelt, market power should be checked and competition should be protected. If such a 5th award would exist, who could be a laureate?
- Media scholar Anya Luscombe throws up the question how free the press is, and how free it should be. Should freedom of expression apply to all press and who should be able to call themselves a journalist anyhow?
- Professor of music Albert Clement shows how closely music, Enlightenment thinking and Freemasonry are connected in a walk that also takes us the English church, and the Freemasonry lodge
- Environmental scientist Renata van der Weijden will share her experience with Citizen Science. Should research be confined to academics only? What is the relation between CitSci projects and freedom?
The theme of ‘Cultures and Institutions of Freedom’ will also figure prominently in a number of our courses. These include, but are not limited to:
- The Science and Cognition course, with a great deal of attention for the free will and decision-making
- The Public International Law course, with attention for how international law can strengthen or limit our individual freedom
- The German course, in which freedom features prominently in a number of assignments
- The US government and politics course; to what extent are we seeing the end of American liberalism?
Throughout the year, there will be guest lectures and special activities related to the theme of ‘Cultures and Institutions of Freedom’. Some examples include:
- The launch of the book ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’s views on Diplomacy and Democracy: the global citizen’, by Anya Luscombe and Dario Fazzi, in October
- On the evening of 3 November, join us, HZ University of Applied Sciences, RIAS, and ZVU for a fully interactive online program
- The Four Freedoms Awards and a Meet-Up with the laureates in Spring
- The 2021 May freedom month, with concerts and lectures
On the 24th of October, 75 years ago, the United Nations was founded to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind’ and ‘to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom’. Whether this has been achieved is an open question, to be critically assessed. Against this question, UCR is organizing a Modern United Nations.
The ‘Modern United Nations’ offers a new approach to the the classic Model United Nations (MUN). In MUNs, young people, in formal attire, negotiate and debate global challenges. One delegation is China, the other Russia, the third the USA. The ‘Modern United Nations’, in the words of project leader Barbara Oomen, adds something to the mix.
What’s special about this event is that we will not only have country delegations, but also those representing other interests such as nature, future generations, companies and refugees. After all, they too have a stake in what happens to our planet.
The training, delivered by UCR students and faculty from RIAS and UCR, pays attention to skills development, but also to the content itself. It emphasizes the Roosevelt family connection to Zeeland and focuses on Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech – the freedom of expression, of religion, and the freedom from fear and from want. The high school students will also learn how and why the UN would have received an International Four Freedoms Award in April this year.
The Modern United Nations, scheduled to take place on October 28th, is a highlight in a variety of events taking place in Zeeland, all related to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations on October 24th. The teaching materials developed for this project will be bundled in a book, and made available online, for future generation to use.
For further information and to follow some of the guest lessons of the Modern United Nations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.