Dear EECERA conference delegates,
I am super excited to be meeting up with you all face to face In Cascais, Portugal at the end of August. It was so wonderful to meet up face to face last year in Glasgow and I am looking forward once more to our creative, curious and lively dialogues! This is the biggest EECERA conference we have ever hosted and I anticipate that our growing international community will provide an amazing opportunity to (re)connect and welcome EECERA colleagues from all over the world, both old friends and new.
These last years have been relentless in the challenges we collectively face – the continuing COVID pandemic, climate change, economic downturn, population displacements on a massive scale and, shockingly, the continued war within Europe and continuing conflicts globally. The accelerating scale and pace of these events demand that action to tackle them becomes ever more urgent as their environmental and humanitarian impact becomes ever clearer. These exceptional challenges require every one of us to respond with generosity, solidarity, collective action, partnerships and importantly, honest critical dialogues with each other, if we are to progress.
EECERA unequivocally continues to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Government and we want to express our absolute solidarity and support for Ukrainian universities, scholars, teachers and students. We also wish to acknowledge that the war in Ukraine is very upsetting, particularly for our colleagues from Ukraine, Russia and surrounding areas. Following guidance from Universities UK, we have reviewed our current Russian research links and projects, and decided that we should not pursue a blanket boycott for Russian colleagues at our conference. We believe this would undermine Russian scholars, academics and students who have participated in our EECERA research community over many years, and some of whom have condemned the invasion at great personal risk. We think that critical and rigorous dialogue, collaboration and research across all divides are vital if we are to address these global challenges and create a more peaceable world.
So, when we gather in Cascais we trust that as a community of international scholars, we can demonstrate our commitment to creating space for positive, constructive dialogues, and, whilst expressing our firm support for our Ukrainian colleagues, we can also collectively welcome our Russian EECERA colleagues who have had the courage to make the journey to conference and ensure their experience is a positive one.
I am very much looking forward to meeting up with you all at the end of August.
Professor Chris Pascal, EECERA President
On behalf of the EECERA Board of Trustees