Freedom, Autonomy and Responsibility Conference

Hear leading international scholars on contemporary issues in the relationship between religion and the law in the context of Catholic education.



22 May 2019


ACU, North Sydney Campus

Join us for a three-day conference (22-24 May 2019) hosted by ACU in collaboration with: The Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame (USA); the Congregation for Catholic Education; and the European Association for Education Law and Policy.

The theme of this conference is ‘Finding the balance in Catholic education and the law in a global context’.

Download the conference flyer (PDF File, 127KB)

About the conference

This conference is an opportunity for experts in education and the law to share the implications of their research for navigating the tensions in the balancing of three goods: the freedom of students to learn, the autonomy of institutions to teach, and responsibility of governments to provide. This issue will be explored in various legal contexts within the context of Catholic education globally.

In various regional contexts, there are calls for accountability in education at various levels, and proposals for legislative changes are placing new pressures upon all involved in the endeavour of providing education opportunities informed by religious commitments and strengthened by the cultivation of religious communities.

Facilitated discussions will deliberate on keynote presentations to develop an informed scholarly conversation within the academy, with the aim of providing ongoing expertise to support the work of the Church in this sometimes tense but fascinating policy environment.

ACU, The Kellogg Institute for International Studies and The Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame (USA), the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the European Association for Education Law and Policy, are collaborating on this project with a view to forging new opportunities for networking into the future, so that our shared challenges can be successfully met and overcome.


Speakers at this event include:

  • Fr Friedrich Bechina FSO – Undersecretary, Congregation for Catholic Education
  • Professor Paolo G. Carozza – Professor of Law and Concurrent Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame (USA)
  • Professor Greg Craven AO, GCSG – Vice-Chancellor and President, Australian Catholic University
  • Professor Jan De Groof – President, Global Education Law Forum; President, European Education Law & Policy Association; Professor, Europacollege (Bruges) and Tilburg University
  • Professor Nicole Garnett – John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Law School (USA)
  • Professor Michele Riondino – Professor of Canon Law & Children’s Rights, Australian Catholic University

More speakers to be announced.


Registrations open 21 January 2019. The registration page will include information on the conference fees.

Accommodation information

Find out more about accommodation options close to our North Sydney Campus by visiting the websites below:

Contact us

To express interest or make an enquiry, email or call us on +61 2 9465 9348.


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