Keynote 1 – Universities and Disagreeing Well
Dr Michael Spence
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Sydney
Universities in the secular liberal tradition have a responsibility to encourage the spirit of inquiry and the freedom of thought that is our expectation and our right in Western democracies. The University community is encouraged to question respectfully, to disagree well, but also to challenge assumptions and test both themselves and the ideas that they, and others, assume to be true. It is critical that this spirit of curiosity, inquiry and debate is not stifled within an institution by the allure of adopting a collective position or view. In ‘disagreeing well’ universities, and ideally society more broadly, acquire the capacity not only to live with disagreement, but to see that well-handled debates are more likely to help us to distinguish the true from the false. We should not be afraid of asking difficult questions, or pursuing our best understanding of truth, wherever that may lead. And it is our duty to promote these values and use our knowledge for the public good.
Keynote 2 – Deep Gratitude: What does it look like in Teaching, Learning and Leadership and how can it give us deep peace?
Dr Kerry Howells
Senior Lecturer, Education College of Arts, Law and Education
University of Tasmania
This presentation will postulate the need for deep gratitude in the context of education, going beyond the therapeutic or a notion of wellbeing to a more powerfully transformative sense of this giant of a term. It will discuss some case studies of challenges posed about the relevance of gratitude to difficulties faced in schools. We will explore practical strategies that can be applied to complex challenges such as being time-poor or facing the negativity or cynicism of others. We will also investigate the educational imperative of a focus on gratitude and how some of the outcomes reported in the case studies offer hope for deep peace for students, teachers and leaders.
Keynote 3 – Understanding The Social Determinants of Education Success for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students In Australian Boarding Schools
Dr Marnie O’Bryan
Honorary Research Fellow
University of Melbourne
This presentation emerges from Dr O’Bryan’s PhD study into the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australian boarding schools. It will consider the social and cultural conditions which young people and their parents identified as respectively enabling or constraining their education endeavours, and the implications of these for Australian schools.
Keynote 4 – Is Christianity A Force For Peace In The World?
Mr John Dickson
Centre for Christianity
Keynote 5 – Forming Students Who Can Love And Disagree
Ms Natasha Moore
Centre for Public Christianity
Tolerance is a core concern for millennials. Yet student culture around the world, in tandem with its passion for justice and equality, displays a growing intolerance of disagreement. What responsibility do educators have to convey to students the beauty an importance of freedom of speech? What resources does Christian faith bring to bear on the problem of disagreeing well? And how can we cultivate habits of peace and loving disagreement in others if we’re stuck in our own echo chambers?