Update of the next activities brought forward by the MCO

While the Academic Freedom Index reports marked improvements in a few countries it found Academic freedom to be in retreat for over 50% of the world’s population – a very challenging situation and one which the MCO must respond to.


MCO ANNIVERSARY - October 23-25, 2024 - Washington DC, USA

Following the success of our 2023 Anniversary conference in Poland, which focussed on the role of universities in reconstruction, the report of which is still in demand, we will be locating the 2024 Anniversary Conference in Washington DC from 23 – 25 October. The theme is ‘Universities, Governments and Democracy: International Challenges and Lessons Learned”. Coming just two weeks before the US Presidential elections, we are assembling an international array of speakers to aid the understanding of issues that are challenging in the US and other countries. All are welcome to participate and a further email will be sent when registration opens. There will be a series of webinars on conference themes in the build-up to the event.


CONFERENCE - May 9, 2024 - London, UK

Prior to that the MCO has been invited by the Lord Mayor of London, Professor Michael Mainelli, to hold an event in London celebrating the achievements of universities and the importance of academic freedom. This will take place on 9 May and will be run in conjunction with related events being organised by Kings College London. More information will be circulated shortly.



Following the success of last year’s essay competition which attracted 97 entries from 24 countries the competition will be repeated in 2024 with a focus on access and equity. We are working with the Global Student Forum to produce materials on fundamental values that can be used in the preparation of student leaders to enable them to make a more effective contribution to their universities.



Our research project ‘The responsive and responsible university’, continues with a view to helping other signatories of the Magna Charta to have greater impact. We are anticipating the first reports and presentations during the year.



The strategy adopted by the MCO Council for the period 2020 – 2025 is progressing well as the activities above and others on our website hopefully demonstrate. Between now and the end of 2024 it is a priority for the MCO Council to prepare a strategy that will take us to 2030 and beyond and address the question of how the MCO can best serve universities in 2030. We are grateful to all universities which completed our questionnaire which has provided us with clear information about which of our activities to prioritise going forward.

The challenge now is to fund our activities and I hope that your university will be able and willing to make a donation. If you are willing to support us, we would be very thankful. Click here for details.

By supporting the Observatory you will be enabling universities around the world to benefit from applying the values and principles that they have signed up to in the MCU for the benefit of all.