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The Talloires Network is proud to identify itself as a “network of networks”. Regional networks for civic engagement exist all over the world, and they are increasingly a key actor in the movement for university social responsibility. The role and notoriety of these networks is featured in the latest installment of the University World News series on topics relevant to this tear’s Talloires Network Leaders Conference (TNLC). The article is titled “University Engagement Networks Go Global“.

The article features interviews with leaders from Campus Compact (USA), Campus Engage (Ireland), the Latin American Center of Solidary Learning and Service (CLAYSS, Argentina), Engagement Australia, AsiaEngage (Malaysia), and the South African Higher Education Community Engagement Forum (SAHECEF). One of them, Nieves Tapia from CLAYSS, summarized the convergence of civic engagement work as a pillar of mainstream higher education curricula:

Member universities are also moving more towards “hybrid work”, with research, teaching and engagement going hand in hand, according to CLAYSS director Nieves Tapia. 

“There is a growing research field on service learning and engagement. This research is born from engagement, and not from traditional university-based research. New research is coming up around public health issues, and I think that is very exciting,” Nieves says. 

“Universities are gaining as much as they are giving in the partnership, and becoming more integrated with the communities they serve. Already we need to be more rigorous about academic outcomes of community engagement.” 

The author, Yojama Sharma, raises the question of student apathy and highlight the growing importance that civic engagement has for research. In all, the heightened importance of civic engagement in all facets of university life seems inevitable – and the role of regional networks in facilitating this change is undeniable. Our secretariat’s program manager, Amy Newcomb Rowe, commented on this ongoing shift:

“Individuals, universities and communities are not isolated,” says Talloires’ Newcomb Rowe. “With the increase in regional and national networks, we see a global movement of understanding diminishing isolation and enabling relationships.”