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14.06.2020 12:15 Alter: 21 days

Open Borders, Closed Borders

Call for Applications

Theme: Open Borders, Closed Borders
Subtitle: Europe, Toleration and Immigration
Type: 11th Summer School in Political Philosophy and Public Policy
Institution: Centre for Ethics, Politics and Society, University of Minho
Location: Braga (Portugal)
Date: 6.–9.7.2020
Deadline: 23.6.2020


Immigration is a reality of life: people are born in a country and
sometimes they decide - or are forced - to emigrate. In the modern
era, we witnessed religiously motivated migration to the New
Continent, and then economically motivated migration to “The
Frontier”. If the question of how open or closed borders should be is
not an entirely new one, it remains that the political context of the
question has changed. The world today is divided into territories
under the jurisdiction of different states, in a fragile balance, and
the preferred destinations of emigrants are liberal democracies with
a social state.

Diplomats and statesmen often explain border control by resorting to
the idea of state sovereignty – also forged in modern times. There is
an ongoing debate between those who uphold more open borders and
those who deem it justifiable to close them.

This is now, however, no longer a theoretical debate but a reality in
plain sight all over the world.

A key reason for maintaining border controls is explained by the
associative nature of liberal democracies: the right of
self-determination, which authorizes citizens to accept some migrants
and not others, because citizens have a say in the type of society
they want to live in.

Europe, however, that until recently celebrated the free movement of
people, has closed many of its internal borders, and jealously
maintains its external borders.

There are reasons to think that, beyond the present situation,
immigration may have an unprecedented impact in the future. This is a
serious possibility that raises even more questions of public
policies concerning how to face religious tolerance, even freedom of
religion, and in general, the issues germane to the sharing of the
burdens and benefits of life in common.

Questions to Address

The kind of questions that this Summer School wants to address are
issues of international politics, or political philosophy from an
ethical perspective.

What role should nations play? What role and justification do borders
have? How do we manage border conflicts without generating an
escalation towards war? Should Western democracies encourage
immigrants to join them? Should Europe try to keep them in their
countries? What should Europeans do? Can some immigrants be accepted
while refusing entry to others, or does everyone have a basic right
to enter? What can be demanded of immigrants who arrived? Should they
be expected to integrate or should we respect their differences?

These issues are especially relevant today because in many countries
voters place the issue very high on their priorities. States and
Europe as a whole are making great efforts to prevent the entry of
immigrants, making already dangerous travel more difficult, and
sometimes even fatal. Despite this, many enter.

Liberal democracies, which take pride in their record on human
rights, sometimes end up violating people’s most basic rights. But
almost nobody advocates the complete opening of borders, both for
pragmatic reasons and for the need to respect for the right of
peoples to determine their public life.

The West has a long history of religious tolerance and freedom of
religion, which can help us to think about the question.


The course features four invited speakers, who will deliver one to
three lectures each.

We invite the participation of students in the majors of Philosophy,
Politics, and International relations, Graduate students and
postdoctoral scholars, as well as established researchers to join us
in the discussion and present their ongoing work on these topics or
any related theme.

Some online presentations from those who cannot travel are welcome.

Abstract Submission

The call for papers is now open.

The abstracts should be submitted before June 23, 2020, with a
maximum of 300 words and 4 keywords.


The participation fee for major students of the Universities of
Minho, Warsaw and Notre Dame is 10 Euros (+5 if they require a copy
of the proceedings).

The participation fee for Ph.D. students and senior scholars is 100 Euros.

Detailed information about registration and payment procedures can be found here:

The deadline for registration is June 30, 2020. 


Acílio Estanqueiro Rocha, Universidade do Minho e Academia das
Agnieskza Nogal, University of Warsaw
J. A. Colen, Universidade do Minho
Michael Zuckert, Notre Dame University

J. A. Colen, Páar Tamas

For other queries, contact:

Website of the Summer School: