Keynote speakers


Agnés van Zanten and Marcelo Caruso

Agnès van Zanten is Senior Research Professor working for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique at the Observatoire Sociologique du Changement (OSC) of Sciences Po, Paris. Read more.

Marcelo Caruso is professor of Historische Bildungsforschung at Humboldt University in Berlin. Read more.


Thomas Nygren and Felisa Tibbitts

Thomas Nygren is associate professor of Curriculum Studies at Uppsala University. Read more.

Felisa Tibbitts is a lecturer in the International Education Development Program at Teachers College, Columbia University and Chair in Human Rights Education in the Department of Law, Economics and Governance at Utrecht University. Read more.


Michel Vandenbroeck

Michel Vandenbroeck is associate professor in family pedagogy and head of department in the department of social work and social pedagogy at Ghent University. Read more.

Keynote lectures



Brain Drain, or the Changing Links between Globalization and Education over Time
Marcelo Caruso

In recent public debates, globalization is inextricably related to the question of inequality. Defined as a process of connecting and ‘compressing’ the whole world that reshapes local relations, globalization is more than a spontaneous process. It is a specific level of causation and a purposeful project. Recent research has shown two processes contradicting the connection between increasing globalization and increasing inequalities: shrinking levels of global inequality (GINI coefficient) and the consolidation of isomorphic structures of modernity, including education, in all countries of the world. Beyond all beneficial aspects globalization may imply, I will sketch the question of globalization and inequality through the particular lens of the history of “brain drain”, the process by which more powerful and richer countries attracted (and still attracts) the educated elites of peripheral countries. These educated classes increase inequalities by migrating in search of better conditions of life. Brain drain, a representation closely related to colonial and postcolonial critique, may give some insights for reassessing the question of inequality in education in a globalized world by focusing on the geopolitical distribution of the results of education and not merely in the process of education itself.


Globalization and educational stratification: A sociological perspective
Agnès van Zanten

Globalization processes are affecting educational systems in profound and diverse ways. Taking at its point of departure the existence of stratified social and educational systems, and using empirical material from two ongoing studies on elite education and on access to higher education, this presentation will focus on their impact on both parental and school strategies. It will show how parents are unequally willing and able to use opportunities for globalization to sustain or improve their status depending on their values and their economic, cultural and social resources, as well as on their degree of embeddedness in national contexts. The presentation will also examine the extent to which schools facilitate or constrain parental practices through their degree of engagement in globalization and the type of globalized curricula and educational trajectories they provide or facilitate, which varies according to their institutional status, interests and assets. The general focus will be on globalization as both an opportunity and a constraint for educational actors and on how globalization processes interact with other processes contributing to the reproduction, in renewed ways, of stratified societies and school systems.


Hopes and Quandaries in Human Rights Education
Thomas Nygren and Felisa Tibbitts

Education in a globalized world is supposed to promote ideals of human rights, peace and sustainability. UNESCO underscores the importance of this in the Global Citizenship Education (GCE) initiative. But, what, how and why do secondary students learn in relation to guidelines and ideals of GCE? In this talk we will discuss the complexity of implementing global ideals with a special focus on human rights education. In a lecture-dialogue format we will discuss current findings from a comparative study of adolescents’ views of human rights education in Sweden, South Africa, USA, India, Germany, France, England, and New Zealand how. We will problematize how education may promote students learning about, through and for human rights across boundaries in light of previous research and theories of human rights education. Starting in the hopes and quandaries of teenagers regarding human rights and their views on classroom pedagogy and the history of human rights we will map out ways to better understand how education can support young global citizens.


Is ECEC part of the solution of inequalities, or is it part of the problem?
Michel Vandenbroeck

Over the last decades, equality policies have shifted from equality of outcomes to equality of opportunities and, in so doing, early childhood care and education is increasingly framed as equalizer. It seems that nation states count on ECEC to fullfil their social ambitions. However, in many European countries, there is a significant gap between discourse and practice. A first problem is the persistent inequality in access to high quality provision. A second problem is the increasing marketisation in many EU countries, including Nordic countries and the empirical evidence that marketisation goes hand in hand with growing inequalities.
A third problem is that the focus on ECEC as places for early learning may have counterprodcutive effects on the learning opportunities for children as is demonstrated in countries with a focus on preschool entry at an early age (e.g. France and Belgium).
We therefore plead to go beyond too simplistic two-dimensional analyses of ECEC and shallow interpetations of country comparisons, such as PISA. Inequalities are complex and therefore need complex engagements with social reality, that embrace unpredictability, democracy and social cohesion. We end with a few examples of what democratic moments in contexts of diversity and fundamental inquality may mean.

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