11.12.23, 17:45, How to deal with the escalation in the Middle East as students and staff?

HOGENT is hosting a panel discussion on the escalation in the Middle East, which caused worldwide turmoil on 7 October 2023. The images we have faced since then are poignant and evoke feelings such as anger, fear and sadness, the impact of which can also be felt among students. As an educational institution, how can we speak about such a sensitive and complex issue in a balanced way? How do we highlight the situation with care for phrasing, word choices and diverse perspectives? How do we, as an educational institution, deal with polarisation and foster an atmosphere where students feel free to share their thoughts and ask questions?

Within HOGENT, we aim to expose students to different viewpoints and create a safe environment for open debate and questioning. We recognise students' need to talk about the situation in Israel and Palestine and want to actively contribute to facilitating constructive, inclusive and respectful dialogue. Through a panel discussion, we focus on sharing information rather than expressing opinions to provide a balanced view of the situation.

The panel discussion starts with an introduction by Koen Goethals (president HOGENT), who explains HOGENT's position. The panel itself consists of Willem De Maeseneer (MO*), who outlines the historical context, Chris De Cock (VUB/UGent), who illuminates the situation from the perspective of humanitarian law, Marlies De Munck (University of Antwerp), who offers insight into the psychological perspective, and Maarten van Alstein ( Vlaams Vredesinstituut), who talks about dealing with polarisation. Valérie Deridder, journalist at Knack with expertise in foreign politics and a specialisation in the Middle East, will moderate the panel.

Monday 11 December 2023 from 18:00 – 20:00


  • 17:45: Doors open
  • 18:00: Introduction by Koen Goethals and historical context by Willem De Maeseneer (MO*)
  • 18:30: Debate moderated by Valérie Deridder 
  • 19:30: Questions
Reserve a seat by 4 December
Campus Bijloke
Louis Pasteurlaan 2
9000 Gent