The 26th EAN Annual Conference

Photo credit: JLU Pressestelle aula jlu logo credit images: jlu pressestelle giessen 11253


Sharing stories of empowerment:

Creating new strategies for diversity and inclusion in higher education

Wednesday 20th - Friday 22nd September 2017

Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany

Hosted by, Germany´s largest network for first generation students


Conference Theme and Objectives

Diversity is often seen as a source of problems in higher education. A deficit-focused perspective prevails in stories of so-called “non-traditional” students. Students themselves tend to talk about their weaknesses and failures instead of their strengths, achievements and contributions. What if we looked at it the other way around? What if diversity was not the problem but the solution ?

The stories we tell ourselves create our reality, they turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. To achieve equality in higher education we need to change our perspective and share stories that value different backgrounds and emphasize strengths of non-traditional students.

The goal of this conference is to create, share and evaluate strategies for diversity in higher education:  

-  How can we change the perception of diversity from a problem to a solution?

-  How can we change the focus from deficit to potential?

-  How can we spread stories of empowerment in higher education?

-  How can we encourage students to tell their own stories in an empowering way?

-  Which teaching and learning methods are best suited to the strength-based approach?

During the conference we will collect our participants’ policy recommendations, summarize them and communicate them to the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Union and to policy making bodies of German higher education institutions.


University of Giessen, host of the EAN 26th Annual Conference

Founded in 1607, Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) is a research university with a long-standing tradition which attracts more than 28,000 students. Its commitment to diversity and the development of international programmes makes it a perfect host for this year's EAN conference, which will look into current factors and dynamics that influence the social dimension of HE and the educational gap within the European Union.

You can read the statement from Prof. Dr. Mukherjee, President of the Justus-Liebig-University here.


Call for Contributions

The Call for Proposals is now open.

Practitioners, researchers and policy makers are invited to submit proposals for paper, project, workshop or poster presentation. All submissions must relate to the conference thematic strands:

  • Diversity in HE: Problem or Solution?
  • Equal Access to HE in Immigrant Societies
  • Student Finance Systems and Their Impact on Access and Success
  • Diversity in HE: Who Needs to Join the Conversation?

Deadline for submissions: Friday 2 June 2017.

All abstracts should be submitted to using the Submissions Form below.

Call for Contributions & Guidelines

Submission Form


Conference Fees and Registration

Conference fees available here.

Registrations are due to open in shortly and as the EAN is moving to the University of Edinburgh, please note that online registrations will now go through our new host's e-store. The procedure will remain as simple as setting up a personal account through e-pay, and the EAN team will be there to guide and support you as usual.


Practical Information

Discounted hotel rates for EAN conference delegates are available at several 3- and 4-star hotels in Giessen. Click here for a list of hotels and instructions on how to book, including deadlines for reduced rates.

Conference mailing list

Interested in this event? Sign-up to our mailing list to be informed as soon as conference updates become available.


This conference would not be possible without the support of our partners, donors and volunteers. We are grateful for the support of Justus Liebig University and for a United Way Worldwide grant on behalf of the generosity of FedEx.




The EAN Secretariat, European Access Network
Lawrence Building, University of Roehampton, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PJ, United Kingdom
Email: ,Tel: +44 (0) 20 8392 3857, Fax: +44 (0) 20 8392 3148