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KIND – Knowledge and Informal Diplomacy

The transformative impact of CIVICA on global challenges

Add to calendar 2024-11-21 14:00 2024-11-22 17:30 Europe/Rome KIND – Knowledge and Informal Diplomacy Florence School of Transnational Governance Palazzo Buontalenti, Via Cavour 65 YYYY-MM-DD


Thu 21 Nov 2024 14.00 - 17.30

Fri 22 Nov 2024 09.30 - 17.30


Florence School of Transnational Governance

Palazzo Buontalenti, Via Cavour 65

The KIND conference aims to explore the role of universities as informal diplomatic actors, deepening the understanding of their transformative role within the CIVICA alliance and the broader context of the European Universities Initiative.

In today’s rapidly evolving global landscape, knowledge serves as a crucial foundation for informed decision-making and creative solutions to global challenges. Universities, through their 'third mission', extend their impact beyond traditional academic roles, emerging as informal diplomatic actors. They contribute to global cooperation and address shared challenges such as public health crises, climate change, and geopolitical tensions.

Funded by the CIVICA Call for Thematic Activities, the KIND conference aims to discuss the specific ways in which CIVICA functions as an informal diplomatic actor. By examining the collaborative efforts of CIVICA partners, the conference will highlight how academic institutions can engage in diplomacy through knowledge-driven initiatives. The event will feature a mix of informative academic presentations, self-reflective roundtables, and interactive activities involving CIVICA faculty, postdoctoral and doctoral researchers, and alumni.

The conference will include representatives from five CIVICA universities (EUI, LSE, Bocconi, CEU, SGH) including senior faculty, researchers, doctoral students, alumni, and staff. It will also host representatives from CIVICA for Ukraine, the Alliance of Ukrainian Universities, the Berlin Alliance of Universities, representatives of other alliances, policymakers, high-level stakeholders, and diplomats to provide diverse perspectives and foster a multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Over the two-day conference, we will examine how universities contribute to knowledge creation, shape community integration, and influence science policy interactions. We will explore the evolving role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in global affairs, discussing potential tensions and concerns. Understanding this shift is crucial for university leaders, researchers, educators, students, and policymakers, as it underscores the strategic importance of universities as independent actors in current affairs. 

Key Questions for Discussion

What role do universities play in fostering understanding and cooperation in the context of current geopolitical challenges and conflicts through informal diplomacy?

How do universities, particularly those within the CIVICA alliance, act as informal diplomatic actors?

In what ways can the knowledge produced and disseminated by universities influence international relations and policy-making?

How can CIVICA's collaborative research projects serve as models for other university alliances in promoting informal diplomacy?

Preliminary Programme 

Thursday, 21st November

2:00 - 5:00 PM

Panel 1: What is Informal Diplomacy in the Context of Higher Education?

This session will explore the concept of informal diplomacy within higher education, highlighting its significance and the unique role universities play in fostering international cooperation and dialogue.

Friday, 22nd November

9:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Panel 2: Reflection on CIVICA as Informal Diplomatic Actor (I)

Showcasing examples of CIVICA research, education, and engagement projects

2:00 - 3:30 PM

Panel 3: Reflection on CIVICA as Informal Diplomatic Actor (II)

High-level roundtable discussion with CIVICA partners

3:30 - 5:30 PM

Panel 4: The EUI Alliances and the Way Forward: Intersecting Knowledge and Diplomacy

This final session will explore the future direction of the European Universities Initiative alliances, with a focus on the social sustainability role of universities and their impact in addressing global challenges.

5:30 PM 

Closing remarks and Cocktail Reception

Registrations will be open in September. Until then, stay tuned for more information about the speakers!

This initiative is organised in the framework of CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences. The CIVICA alliance brings together ten leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences. The alliance's mission is to create an inter-university campus for collaborative teaching, research, and innovative learning, while fostering academic excellence and global civic engagement. CIVICA was selected by the European Commission as one of the pilot European Universities in 2019 and confirmed as a successful alliance in 2022 for its full roll-out under the Erasmus+ programme. Read more on

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