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What can universities do to stabilise democracy and what, if any, is the responsibility of universities to do so?

Certainly, universities have survived and even thrived in non-democratic environments, yet one would think they should be the bedrock of a functioning democracy. In recent years, the fragility of democracy has been exposed by the rise of populism, increasing polarisation, declining trust in institutions and increasing inequality. 

Prof Richardson will make the case that in such a bleak context, universities can do a lot in the areas they know best: research and education.

Dr Liviu Matei, Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy and Head of the School of Education, Communication & Society, will chair this event. A Q&A session will follow the lecture, including respondents from the School.


The event will be hybrid: there will be live auto-captioning available on the livestream. Those attending virtually will receive the joining link via email nearer the time.

There will be a canapes reception for those attending in person.

Please make sure to register - via the button link at the top of the page - to attend this event.


Speaker: Dame Prof Louise Richardson

Dame Louise Richardson joined Carnegie Corporation of New York in January 2023 at the end of her seven-year term as head of the University of Oxford. Previously, she served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews and served on the faculty of Harvard University for 20 years.

In 2022, Richardson was appointed a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) in recognition of her service to higher education by Queen Elizabeth II.

An Irish political scientist whose specialist field is the study of terrorism, Richardson's publications include What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat (2006), The Roots of Terrorism (2006), and Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (2007).

Part of the Education & Society Dialogue series

The School of Education, Communication & Society (ECS) at King’s works for the public good through interdisciplinary research and teaching focused on education in its broadest sense.

Last year, ECS launched the Education and Society Dialogues, a high-level series of research-informed events bringing together academics and university leaders, education professionals, public policy makers and regulators, and media representatives.

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of research and teaching at ECS, which focuses on education in its broadest sense, the series will identify and address key contemporary issues within the broad area of ‘education and society’.

Find out more >

At this event


Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy