The Talloires Network is an international association of institutions committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education. We work together to implement the recommendations of the Talloires Declaration and build a global movement of engaged universities.
We believe that higher education institutions do not exist in isolation from society, nor from the communities in which they are located. The Talloires Network envisions universities around the world as a vibrant and dynamic force in their societies, incorporating civic engagement and community service into their research and teaching mission.
The Network is guided by an elected Steering Committee of 15 members. Ten are current or former heads of higher education institutions, three are heads of national or regional higher education networks for university civic engagement, and two are student representatives. The 2018 Steering Committee members represent 12 countries. Our secretariat is based in the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, United States of America.
The beginning of this millennium witnessed a global trend toward greater engagement of universities with their communities, characterized by systemic efforts to mobilize the expertise and person power of these institutions to address pressing societal needs. However, there was limited international coordination and exchange on such issues among the heads of universities.
In September 2005, Tufts University convened the Talloires Conference 2005, the first international gathering of the heads of universities devoted to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education. Held at the Tufts European Center in the alpine village of Talloires, France, the conference brought together 29 university presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors from 23 countries around the world. Convened by then Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow, the conference was organized by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts and by Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP).
Although the conference participants represented starkly different contexts and types of universities, they found that they embraced very similar visions and strategic orientations. The conference produced the Talloires Declaration on the Civic Roles and Social Responsibilities of Higher Education. All signatories of the Declaration have committed their institutions to educating for social responsibility and civic engagement, and to strengthening the application of university resources to the needs of local and global communities.
From 2005 to 2011, Tisch College at Tufts and ICP worked together to provide secretariat services for the Network and to foster its development. From its beginning, development of the Network and its expanding programs has been guided by a steering committee of higher education leaders from around the world.
In 2011, over 200 vice chancellors, rectors, presidents and other senior staff members gathered in Madrid for the second Talloires Network Leaders Conference to exchange experiences and best practices, and to envision the next stage of our movement.
Our third global conference was held in December 2014, in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 200 university leaders and civic engagement practitioners participated in this gathering, which included productive conversations on topics such as action community-based research, youth entrepreneurship, and fundraising for university civic engagement.
Since its founding conference, the Network has grown to 379 members in 77 countries with a combined enrollment of over 6 million students. For an account of the origins, work to date and future of the Network, see “The Talloires Network: A Global Coalition of Engaged Universities,” published by the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.
Our fourth global conference was held in June 2017, in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. More than 250 university leaders from 31 countries typically separated by borders and language met to exchange ideas and work together to mobilize higher education as a force for addressing the world’s most pressing societal challenges.
The Talloires Network is building a global movement of civically engaged and socially responsible higher education institutions. We advocate for expansion of civic engagement activities, and promote the most promising practices from our members and others in the field of higher education.