Lisbon, Portugal | 19 - 21 April 2023

A well-functioning sector of independent education is one of the pillars of an empowered civil society. And an empowered civil society is a cornerstone of democracy.

Because independent schools are value based organizations, it is the parents` right to choose the school with which they most identify themselves.

But whatever the specific values that each independent school decides to focus, there are fundamental educational aims shared by all independent schools in Europe. Two of them are: the promotion of democracy within our societies and the education of our students for civil engagement. Therefore, the 2023 ECNAIS conference focusses how we, as educators, are able to better achieve these aims.

But the 2023 ECNAIS Conference is very special for an additional reason: we will host the first ECNAIS Debate Event ( In partnership with DDI - Stichting Nederlands Debat Instituut and with support from Porticus, we have trained teachers all over Europe, students have debated at their schools and at the national level and now 11 teams from 11 countries will debate in Lisbon during the Conference.

A visit to independent schools in Lisbon will be part of the program.

We hope this Conference inspires participants and hels them reflect on the opportunities within their national contexts to improve what we do and to show the importance of independent education for societal wellbeing.


Wednesday 19th April
18:00 / 19:30 ECNAIS AGM
Open for official ECNAIS members only
18:00 / 19:30

STUDENT MEETING                                                                                                                  Open to students, accompanying teachers and ECNAIS organizers

JUROR MEETING                                                                                                                      Open to jurors 

Thursday 20th April - HOTEL
Luís Virtuoso
AEEP President
Ministry of Education
Rodrigo Melo
ECNAIS Chairman
10:00 Students from Portugal
Welcome to Lisbon
10:30 Round 1 of the debate
All teams debate (5 debating rooms)

12:00 Round 2 of the debate
All teams debate (5 debating rooms)

13:00 LUNCH at the Holiday Inn Lisboa
14:30 Prof. Miguel Monjardino
Institute for Political Studies / Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Dialogue included
15:30 Round 3 of the debate
All teams debate (5 debating rooms)
17:00 Prof. Gonçalo Matias
Católica Global School of Law/ Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos
Dialogue included
18:00 Schools presentations and registration for School visits
19:30 DINNER

Friday 21st April — HOTEL / SCHOOLS
8:30 Travel to Schools
9:00 School visits
12:30 LUNCH 
14:00 Final debate
The two teams with most points debate
15:30 Civic Education at school - European perspectives
3 countries                                                                                                                            1 principle + 1 student per county                                                                                Debate with audience 
18:30 Leaving Hotel for dinner                                                                                                                   
19:30 Official dinner         

REGISTRATION: online only:

The Conference will take place at:

Hotel Holiday Inn Lisboa | Av. António José Almeida, 28 A; 1000-044, Lisbon, Portugal