Oxford Symposium 2018

Oxford Symposium on Comparative and International Education (OXSCIE)

How can we, through education, best shape and sustain a society that is at once plural and cosmopolitan, prosperous and inclusive, fair and responsible, and cohesive?


On June 19 and 20, 2018, Aga Khan Foundation and the Global Centre for Pluralism partnered with the University of Oxford to host the second annual Oxford Symposium on Comparative and International Education (OXSCIE) 2018 to answer this vital question.

The symposium brought together 150 participants from five constituencies, all of whom have a stake in education:

  •  education policy makers (i.e. ministries, think tanks, UN agencies and civil society)
  • academics and researchers
  • donors
  • education practitioners (i.e. students, teacher and school leaders)
  • public opinion makers (i.e. filmmakers, journalists and activists)


Through keynote addresses, plenary sessions and small roundtable sessions, participants explored the following themes:

  • the key intersections between education, uncertainty and the changing nature of society;
  •  the impact of uncertainty on society and on children’s learning pathways and transitions between the first and second decade of life
  • the role and responsibilities of philanthropy in education and society in how to build a coalition of partnerships to support and engage learning in uncertainty.


Participants were invited to consider the role of educators and educational systems in fostering the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes needed for students to succeed and thrive in conditions of uncertainty – to turn uncertainty into moments of opportunity and ‘human agency’.

Highlights of the symposium included keynote addresses from Alice Nderitu, Kenyan peace mediator and one of three winners of the Centre’s 2017 Global Pluralism Award (read her keynote below); Andria Zafirakou, an art teacher at Alperton Community School in London and 2018 Global Teacher Prize Winner; and Lewis Mizen, a recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, where seventeen students and staff were killed during a school shooting in February 2018. Over the course of two days, there were 23 roundtable sessions where participants engaged in lively discussion on a range of themes, including early childhood development, innovation, teacher transformation, life world learning, education policy and education and conflict.

Participants also had the opportunity to learn about Schools2030, a new 10-year longitudinal research programme, based out of the University of Oxford that will follow and record the impact of uncertainty on the life worlds and choices of children and young people from 2020 to 2030.

To watch the keynote addresses, plenary sessions or roundtables, visit OXSCIE’s Facebook page.

Read Alice Nderitu’s Keynote here.