Student Essay Competition

Student Essay Competition: Reimagining Academic Freedom

OSUN Global Observatory on Academic Freedom (GOAF) is delighted to announce winners to our student essay competition on the topic of Academic Freedom under the title “Reimagining Academic Freedom”, broadly defined.

The first prize goes to Cristina Mazzero, a first-year PhD student in Sociology and Social Research at the University of Trento in Italy. Mazzero recently obtained her MA degree with a thesis on the experiences of violated academic freedom of Belarusian students. Her current research interests relate to the student displacement in academia, internationalization of higher education, academic freedom, qualitative and mixed-methods research design. Mazzero in her past collaborated with organizations such as the Forum Trentino for Peace and Human Rights, the International Cooperation Centre and the Italian section of Scholars at Risk.

Mazzero’s essay under the title Reimagining academic freedom through the lens of students’ experiences: reflections from the Belarusian case critically addresses two challenges within conceptualizing efforts of academic freedom: the nature of student academic freedom and the situated dimension of academic freedom in the individual experiences, calling for an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of academic freedom.

The second prize winner Vladislav Siiutkin is a master student of Political Science at Central European University in Austria and a researcher at the Public Sociology Laboratory. Before joining CEU, he received a BA degree in Sociology from the School of Advanced Studies at the University of Tyumen. His research focuses on the reproduction of inequality through the education system, nation-building, and political mobilizations in contemporary Russia. Vladislav is involved in various activist networks which promote self-governance and re-politicization. 

Siiutkin’s essay University systems in Russia and France: political autonomy and scientific efficiency argues that institutional autonomy and academic freedom of scholars and researchers is beneficial to the academic enterprise, and he strengthens his argument through comparative research of the situation in France and Russia, focusing on sociology as a discipline.

And the third prize goes to David Sebastian Urrego Cardenas, an undergraduate student in Languages and Sociocultural Studies at Los Andes University in Colombia. Urrego’s research interests are in the field of Gender, Indigenous Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, and more recently Academic Freedom.

Urrego’s essay Academic Freedom, a Right Reimagined Outside of the Colonial Cognizance calls for decolonization of academic freedom specifically within the Latin American context, through a case of gender analysis and knowledge imposed from “the colonial realms” and putting back in the center the production of knowledge by Latin American scholars and students.