Multiculturalism - How can society deal with it?


Paleis der Academiën, Brussel

Activiteit in het kader van de Denkerscyclus 


Can we create new national stories so that all citizens, regardless of their background, can have a sense of belonging to the national community? If schools are a micro cosmos of society - should they reflect the diversity of society? How can crime and terrorism be confronted? 

Recent decades have been characterised by a growing polarisation in Europe on questions of immigration and integration and a lot of fear amongst the public about the infringement upon their way of life. In defining their stances majorities tend to rely more on their own fear rather than knowledge of what is going on in the world of minorities. The Thinkers Programme aims to initiate a reflection on the subject of muliculturalism as a mode of political accommodation of minorities formed by immigration into Belgium (and Flanders in particular) as well as of the majority population. The subject will be dealt with on two levels: (political) theory and the problems of practice. 

This symposium will reflect on the complex theme of multiculturalism, more specifically: multiple identities in conflict and/or harmony.

Thinkers in Residence Tariq Modood and Frank Bovenkerk will present their draft report and ask stakeholders and experts to respond.

The symposium wil be held in English. Registration is free of charge.



01 Welcome 09:00 - 09:10
Godelieve Laureys, Chair of the Class of Humanities (speaker)

02 Introduction 09:10 - 09:30
Marie-Claire Foblets, Coordinator Thinkers Programme (speaker)
The Thinkers will start each session with a comment on their view as described in the draft report. The respondents are invited to react on this draft followed by a discussion in each session.
03 Multiculturalism, Moderate Secularism and National Identity 09:30 - 10:50
Tariq Modood, Thinker in Residence (chair)
Patrick Loobuyck, UAntwerp, Centre Pieter Gillis (speaker)
Leen Verraest, Director-general Flemish Agency for Civic Integration (speaker)

04 Coffee break 10:50 - 11:10
05 The Distinctive Character of Belgian/Flemish Nationalisms, Ethno-Religious Relations and Moderate Secularism 11:10 - 12:30
Tariq Modood, Thinker in Residence (chair)
Orhan Agirdag, KU Leuven, Education and Society (speaker)
Dirk Jacobs, ULB, GERME Institut de Sociologie (speaker)
06 Lunch break 12:30 - 14:00
07 Schooling 14:00 - 15:20
Tariq Modood, Thinker in Residence (chair)
Jozefien De Leersnyder, KU Leuven, Social and Cultural Psychology (speaker)
Elias Hemelsoet, GO! Education of the Flemish Community (speaker)
Christian Wyns, Flemish Catholic Education (speaker)
08 Social Problems 15:20 - 17:20
8.1 Second Generation Crime
Frank Bovenkerk, Thinker in Residence (chair)
Stefaan Pleysier, KU Leuven, Leuven Institute of Criminology (speaker)
8.2 Terrorism
Frank Bovenkerk, Thinker in residence (chair)
Annalisa Gadaleta, Alderman Molenbeek (speaker)
09 Conclusions 17:20 - 17:30
Ronny Lesthaeghe, Coordinator Thinkers Programme (speaker)
10 Reception 17:30 - 17:30