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2021 GALA conference: Call for proposals

Catholic University of Eastern Africa

Liberal Arts for Tomorrow
20-22 September 2021
Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

The Catholic University of Eastern Africa will host the 7th Annual GALA conference dedicated to the theme of preparing university students, faculty, and professionals for a changing and uncertain global future. It will explore how the values of the liberal arts—intellectual freedom, critical thinking, creative curiosity, reasoned debate, disciplinary diversity, public engagement, and a global outlook—can be reconfigured to empower students, teachers, and researchers in tackling global challenges. As this will be GALA’s first conference in Africa, it will provide an ideal opportunity to explore truly global perspectives about teaching, research, and practice in the liberal arts.

The conference was due to be held in September 2020 but was rescheduled because of the pandemic. We hope to be able to meet in person in September 2021 but CUEA and GALA are committed to holding the conference in a blended or fully virtual form.

Topics for discussion include:

  • Global citizenship and the liberal arts
  • Diversity, equality, and inclusion in teaching, research, and practice
  • Decolonising the liberal arts curriculum
  • The liberal arts and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
  • Working locally, thinking globally: universities as civic partners
  • Public engagement and the liberal arts
  • Building research capacity in the arts, humanities, and social sciences


For ‘in person’ attendees, the conference will feature Kenyan cuisine, music and dance and will include tours of Nairobi and the Nairobi National Park. Information about health, travel, housing and other conference logistics to follow.

As in previous years, the conference will be open to undergraduates and postgraduates as well as faculty and university professionals at all stages of their career. The conference will also be preceded and followed by student-focused events and a writing workshop for African early career researchers. More information about these will be shared shortly.

Given GALA’s commitment to innovation and inclusivity, the conference will adopt a multi-format approach, mixing ‘traditional’ conference panels and presentations with lightning talks, posters, workshops, exercises, facilitated plenary discussions, and breakout activities. Consequently, we welcome ‘proposals of participation’ rather than formal abstracts.

Please explain in 400 words why you wish to attend the conference and what insights or experiences relevant to the theme you would like to share; also indicate which kinds of presentation or participation formats you would be happy to engage with. Collaborative proposals are particularly welcome. Proposals along with a 100-word biographical statement should be sent to the GALA Academic Director, Ian Gadd ( and CUEA conference chair, Samuel Nyanchoga ( by 5 March 2021.

Download the Call for Proposals as a PDF.

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