Skip to main content

This news post is more than 1 year old

Watchback Discourse Series | Academic Freedom: Threats within and without, with Professor Michael Ignatieff

Watch the recording of the conversation between Professor Michael Ignatieff and Ben Tonra MRIA, that took place on 7 October 2022.

In this engaging Discourse, Professor Michael Ignatieff and Ben Tonra MRIA discussed how academic freedom is not just a privilege of academics, but a key pillar of democracy itself.

As former President and Rector of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest during the turbulent years 2016-2021, which saw the CEU’s expulsion from Hungary and re-establishment in Vienna, Professor Ignatieff was uniquely placed to lead this conversation on the importance of academic freedom and university autonomy in a functioning democracy. Ben Tonra MRIA, Professor of International Relations at University College Dublin’s School of Politics and International Relations, challenged Professor Ignatieff on this important topic.

Our speakers:

Professor Michael Ignatieff is a university professor, writer and former politician. He was educated at the University of Toronto (BA) and Harvard (PhD). From 2006-11, he served as an MP in the Parliament of Canada and then as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition. Between 2012-15 he served as Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. From 2014-16 he was Edward R. Murrow Chair of the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Until recently, he was the Rector and President of Central European University, stepping down in July 2021, to remain as a Professor in the History Department.

Ben Tonra MRIA is Professor of International Relations at UCD’s School of Politics and International Relations. At UCD he teaches, researches and publishes in European foreign, security and defence policy, Irish foreign, security and defence policy and International Relations theory. In UCD he served as the College of Social Sciences and Law’s VP for Internationalisation/Global Engagement (2020-2022). He worked previously at the Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Trinity College Dublin and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. He is a graduate of the University of Limerick (BA and MA) and completed his doctoral studies at TCD in 1996. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2020, and previously served as the chair of the Academy’s Standing Committee on International Affairs.

Royal Irish Academy Discourse Series

Our discourses are the oldest and most renowned series of talks in Ireland. The first discourses were presented in 1786. Historically, Academy discourses were the occasion reserved for the most distinguished academics to first reveal and discuss their research in public. Continuing in this tradition, the Discourse Series brings international experts to the Academy to discuss important contemporary issues in front of a live audience.