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Introduction

The Talloires Network of Engaged Universities – a growing global coalition of 426 engaged universities in 86 countries – is soliciting Expressions of Interest (EOI) to host its next global leaders conference (TNLC2024), a 3-day gathering to be held between September and December 2024.

Talloires Network member universities and network partners are invited to submit an EOI individually or in collaboration with other universities and organizations.

Previous global conferences of the Talloires Network have been held in all major regions of the world and have benefited greatly from outstanding local leadership in planning and executing the conference and related events. As we select the host for the next conference, we are seeking similarly strong collaboration.

Our conferences are movement-building events, which provide a space for higher education leaders, students, and community members from various regions of the world to actively strengthen and expand the global university civic engagement movement. A key focus of the gathering will be critical reflection on practices, dialogue and exchange, and collective strategic planning.

The Talloires Network Steering Committee and Secretariat appreciate the complexities associated with planning and executing a successful global gathering. We acknowledge that such an endeavor requires thoughtful attention to a variety of elements including the alignment of Secretariat staff and local host priorities and work plans; an understanding of, and respect for, the host organizer’s culture, institutional systems, and competing priorities; and a willingness and ability to negotiate expectations and modify priorities as changes arise.

Conference Theme

Institutional Transformation: The Role of Universities in Civil Society and the Potential of Networks

We are living in turbulent and unpredictable times. There are deepening inequalities within and between countries. Polarization within and between countries continues to grow as disinformation and hate speech against the marginalized escalates. Many societies are witnessing attacks on public and human rights institutions as well as threats to democracy.

Simultaneously, technological advances such as Zoom and WhatsApp allow us to come together, build lasting relationships, and share ideas and resources. The Talloires Network works with people and institutions around the world in solidarity, aiming to create relationships of common knowledge and purpose – shining a light on and taking action to deconstruct long-standing and oppressive systems of power.

Challenging existing hierarchies and building inclusive systems of power requires an orientation of “global citizenship,” which is embodied by capabilities such as courage, humility, and empathy. In short, the world needs more people who are equipped to deal creatively with intersecting crises – to operate effectively in highly uncertain and conflicted situations; to fashion inclusive approaches to combating existential challenges such as climate change, pandemic disease, rising water and food insecurity; to organize hopeful coalitions for change that bridge social and economic divides; and to mobilize the use of evidence for public decision-making in local communities and higher levels of governance.

The Talloires Network of Engaged Universities is one of many networks investing in the future of young people. We are devoted to nurturing the development of the next generation of global citizens with the capacity to contribute to building more equitable and prosperous communities; we practice structured listening and deliberative dialogue to increase understanding across ideological divides; we support and train university faculty whose research emerges from the intersection of local crises; we incentivize community-university research partnerships and evidence-based decision-making; we connect and mobilize civic institutions and human rights movements that seek to recreate systems of power that are more equitable.

Our next major movement-building event will challenge the way we think about the historic role of universities in their communities, highlight examples of institutional transformation around the world and explore how networked spaces[1] may play a role in advancing our common cause. Together, we will imagine a better future and identify the next steps on our collective journey.

Conference Sub-Themes and Framing Questions

Addressing Historic Institutional Injustices and Harms to Repair and Heal

  • In what ways have certain historical practices by universities caused harm in their communities and societies? In what ways are universities addressing historical injustices?
  • In what ways have universities publicly acknowledged their historic role in their societies? How have universities engaged with and supported the needs of their local communities?
  • How are universities contributing to create positive impacts in their communities and taking steps to repair harm? How might universities mobilize to repair institutional injustices?

Potential Avenues for Institutional Transformation

  • In what ways are universities open and inclusive? How do universities directly contribute to dignity and wellbeing of humanity? How do universities create long-term, inclusive relationships with communities?
  • What structural transformations would we like to achieve in terms of the role of higher education in society? How might faculty, students, government, and others shape these transformations? How might universities use technology to adapt to a rapidly changing world to increase accessibility and create diverse and creative ways of knowing?

Areas Where Networks May Grow and Play a Role

  • What are the essential characteristics of an effective network? How might networks become more effective in: supporting transdisciplinary approaches that encourage open dialogue between diverse perspectives? providing ongoing skill-building and leadership development activities for practical, urgent local projects in communities around the world? informing policy transformation in higher education globally?
  • What challenges exist that would be very difficult to overcome that might be accomplished in networked spaces?

[1] Virtual civic spaces (or “networked spaces”) foster global connection and collaboration across physical, institutional, disciplinary, and ideogical boundaries, and are enabled by virtual meeting technology, network organization and collaborative participation.

Timeline

  • TN members and network partners submit Expression of Interest forms to host TN global conference, December 2022 – April/May 2023
  • Steering Committee members to review proposals and select two finalists, May/June 2023
  • Collect additional information from host finalists (possible site visits), July/August 2023
  • Steering Committee will select the site of next global conference, September/October 2023
  • TNLC2024 host will be announced, October 2023
  • Organize conference between October 2023 – September 2024
  • Conference to be held September 2024 - December 2024

TNLC2024 Expression of Interest Form

To express interest in hosting the next Talloires Network conference, please complete the Expression of Interest Form. Institutions or networks who apply to host the 2024 Talloires Network conference should be member universities or network partners of the Talloires Network. Institutions can become members through a simple and free process. Learn more about how to become a member here.

The host institution or network(s) will appoint a Local Organizing Committee (LOC), which will lead the planning and organization of the conference with the collaboration of the Talloires Network Secretariat.

Please submit your completed form by using the link below by 10 April 2023, at 11:59PM EDT (UTC-4). You may reach us with any questions by email.

If you would like to complete it offline, please download the form here and email in PDF format to talloiresnetwork@tufts.edu

You may complete the form below or by going to the survey link here.