CFP: Open Borders, Closed Borders Europe, Toleration and Immigration

Submission deadline: July 6, 2020

Conference date(s):
July 6, 2020 - July 9, 2020

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Centre for Ethics, Politics and Society, University of Minho
Braga, Portugal

Topic areas


Open Borders, Closed Borders

Europe, Toleration and Immigration

July 6-9, 2020
 University of Minho, Braga - Portugal


Where: Auditorium 07-08 at CPI 1, University of Minho, Braga, auditoriums in downtown Braga

Some online presentations from those who cannot travel are welcome

Organization: This event is co-organized by the Centre for Ethics, Politics and Society of the University of Minho, in cooperation with course in History of Ideas of the major in International Relations

Convenors: J. A. Colen, Páar Tamas
Lectures by:

Acílio Estanqueiro Rocha, Universidade do Minho e Academia das Ciências

Agnieskza Nogal, University of Warsaw

J. A. Colen, Universidade do Minho

Michael Zuckert, Notre Dame University



Open borders/closed borders:  Europe, Tolerance, and Immigration

Immigration is a reality of life: people are born in a country and sometimes they decide - or are forced - to emigrate. In the modern era, we witnessed religiously motivated migration to the New Continent, and then economically motivated migration to “The Frontier”. If the question of how open or closed borders should be is not an entirely new one, it remains that the political context of the question has changed. The world today is divided into territories under the jurisdiction of different states, in a fragile balance, and the preferred destinations of emigrants are liberal democracies with a social state.

Diplomats and statesmen often explain border control by resorting to the idea of state sovereignty – also forged in modern times. There is an ongoing debate between those who uphold more open borders and those who deem it justifiable to close them. 

This is now, however, no longer a theoretical debate but a reality in plain sight all over the world.

A key reason for maintaining border controls is explained by the associative nature of liberal democracies: the right of self-determination, which authorizes citizens to accept some migrants and not others, because citizens have a say in the type of society they want to live in.

Europe, however, that until recently celebrated the free movement of people, has closed many of its internal borders, and jealously maintains its external borders.

There are reasons to think that, beyond the present situation, immigration may have an unprecedented impact in the future. This is a serious possibility that raises even more questions of public policies concerning how to face religious tolerance, even freedom of religion, and in general, the issues germane to the sharing of the burdens and benefits of life in common.

Questions to Address

The kind of questions that this Summer School wants to address are issues of international politics, or political philosophy from an ethical perspective.

What role should nations play? What role and justification do borders have? How do we manage border conflicts without generating an escalation towards war? Should Western democracies encourage immigrants to join them? Should Europe try to keep them in their countries? What should Europeans do? Can some immigrants be accepted while refusing entry to others, or does everyone have a basic right to enter? What can be demanded of immigrants who arrived? Should they be expected to integrate or should we respect their differences?

These issues are especially relevant today because in many countries voters place the issue very high on their priorities. States and Europe as a whole are making great efforts to prevent the entry of immigrants, making already dangerous travel more difficult, and sometimes even fatal. Despite this, many enter.

Liberal democracies, which take pride in their record on human rights, sometimes end up violating people’s most basic rights. But almost nobody advocates the complete opening of borders, both for pragmatic reasons and for the need to respect for the right of peoples to determine their public life.

The West has a long history of religious tolerance and freedom of religion, which can help us to think about the question.

The course features four invited speakers, who will deliver one to three lectures each.

We invite the participation of students in the majors of Philosophy, Politics, and International relations, Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, as well as established researchers to join us in the discussion and present their ongoing work on these topics or any related theme. 

Abstract Submission 
The call for papers is now open.

The abstracts should be submitted before June 23, 2020, with a maximum of 300 words and 4 keywords


The participation fee for major students of the Universities of Minho, Warsaw and Notre Dame is 10 Euros (+5 if they require a copy of the proceedings).

The participation fee for Ph.D. students and senior scholars is 100 Euros.

Registration and Fee


The registration fee is 100 Euros. Payment should be made via bank transfer to: 

Name of the recipient: Universidade do Minho

IBAN - PT50003501710016732263015

Bank: CGD - Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Swift code: CGDIPTPL

Address of the recipient: Largo do Paço, 4704-553 Braga

NIF: 502 011 378A

Address of the bank (if requested): Campus Universitário - Gualtar 4700 - 001 - BRAGA

ph: +351.707. 242. 424


Please send the proof of payment via email to [email protected]

The deadline for registration is June 30, 2020.



We will provide a certificate of participation to all registered attendants.

Further information on accommodation and travelling will be provided at short notice.

For other queries, contact:  [email protected]

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