DEN's International Student Conference

DEN’s Conference: Truly Unique Experience

DEN Conference is one of the annual projects organized by the community of the Democratic Educational Network. It is a student-led initiative that emerges into a platform that allows individuals to work independently on a range of topics they are passionate about and present to a broad audience. It is also an opportunity to share, create, and exchange valuable experiences useful for professional growth. This year, the University of Westminster and DEN hosted students from different countries – the UK, Uzbekistan, Peru, Thailand, and Vietnam, allowing more voices to be heard.

The title of the 2023 DEN conference was ‘ Sustainable Development in a Diverse and Unequal World: Actions Speak Louder Than Words’, and it involved students from all over the world presenting their papers, sharing their thought on topics of global matters and exchanging their opinion during the panel discussions. Current students, academics, alumni, quest speakers – everyone had an opportunity to speak and to be heard. 

The preparation for the conference is a thoughtful and structured process. It begins with a collective decision on a topic of the conference, which is based on students’ and academics’ preferences, current global affairs, and global relevance, as it is crucial to create a topic that can be widely discussed from different perspectives. As soon as the topic is chosen, DEN begins the application process for prospective participants, who need to submit an abstract of their paper, briefly explaining the topic they want to discuss.

Sometimes people use their coursework or projects they recently completed as a base for their presentation, while others come up with new ideas they want to share. During the 2023 application process, we have received various topics, including Resources, Environment, Endogenous Population and Development, Colonialism, Neoliberalism, Consequences, Fighting Anaemia as a Basis for Sustainable Development and many others. All the topics were then grouped so that one panel consisted of 3-4 speakers, individually presenting their work and then discussing it with the audience. The panel discussions were led by a chair – a member of DEN, so the whole process of presenting and engaging with the audience was structured and smooth.  

All the students, academics, and guests enjoyed the conference, as it was a truly unique experience and an opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with others. We are pleased to see the positive feedback of such a successful initiative and would be happy to see everyone at the DEN conference next academic year.

Alexandra Bukhareva, University of Westminster

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