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From July 7-9, 2014, the Talloires Network and Kettering Foundation co-hosted another workshop with their “Regional Perspectives” group. Organized by Derek Barker, program officer at the Kettering Foundation, and Lorlene Hoyt, director of programs and research at the Talloires Network, group participants represent eight universities from seven countries. For more than a year, they have been exchanging ideas and information about the exemplary university civic engagement programs they lead. The recent three-day workshop integrated lively discussions, story telling, relationship building, collaboration for a book project, and #TNLC2014 global conference planning. It was hosted by the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio.

The regional perspectives come from a diversity of areas around the world: Australia, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, Scotland, South Africa and the United States. Two people from each country, including university administrators, faculty, students, and community partners, represent engaged programs in health care, youth leadership, rural development, and refugee support. Each program seeks to support community development and social responsibility, bringing together a unique blend of regional voices to advance the efforts of socially aware universities and local communities.

Discussion topics included student learning and reflection, civic professionalism, beyond service-learning models, building trust in communities, insights for making and sustaining partnerships, and university policy on civic engagement. Common themes shared across programs include the significance of reflection, value of indigenous knowledge, importance of shared values, and learning from failures and conflict.

Memorable quotes from participants:

“We cannot work together (university and community) without a common set of values, because values guide the process.” Helen Martin, Activate Program

“Building trust is a prerequisite for success.” Nelly Corbel, Lazord Academy

“We are building relational pathways that were previously disconnected and trying to connect them.” Mark Wilson, Living Democracy

The group will reconvene for a third and final face-to-face workshop in December 2014 at the Talloires Network Global Leaders conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Additionally, they will organize and conduct three breakout sessions to facilitate exchange among member universities. Topics include: faculty incentives and rewards for university civic engagement, youth leadership and social inclusion.

Read more about each program on the Talloires Network website here.

Read more about the Talloires Network Leader’s Conference in Cape Town, South Africa December 2014.