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The global movement for civically engaged universities is a contemporary response to the challenges of our times. Facing challenges that defy rigid disciplinary boundaries, borders, and cultural divides, it is more important than ever to be globally aware and active in communities. We have adopted an action research framework because we aim to support methods of inquiry and action that bring about societal change, while encouraging reflection on the process and outcomes of change to inform and improve future practice. Our programs encourage solidarity, dialogue and exchange, and critical reflection and learning among all participants. 

Learn more about our past initiatives below.

University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement (2020-2021)
Supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations, the University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement is a pilot program to discover novel research and learning strategies for university civic engagement among Talloires Network member universities. It provides direct support for the local expansion of civic engagement partnerships to build more equal and inclusive societies. It also facilitates critical reflection as well dialogue and exchange among awardees and members of the Network.

Grants for Engaged Universities (2021)
With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Mastercard Foundation, and Open Society Foundations, the Secretariat expanded access to the 2021 Talloires Network Leaders Conference by providing 18 grants to members in 14 countries around the world. Grant recipients organized safe, local gatherings which elevated the voices and perspectives of university civic engagement leaders in the Global South.

Communities Of Virtual Alliance & Inter-Dependence (COV-AID) (2020 – 2021): In partnership with Open Society University Networks, COV-AID aims to collect and share stories of institutions and individuals who are taking action to mitigate the global COVID-19 crisis, document practical steps and strategies that may be of use elsewhere, and strengthen public support for engaged universities. COV-AID includes a webinar series, an interview series, a conference series, and awards for civically engaged university students.

Deliberative Civic Engagement (2017 – 2020): Together with the Kettering Foundation, the Network led workshops and published research papers about deliberative civic engagement — a model in which inclusion, dialogue, and collective decision-making are key — and how universities around the world can lead such initiatives.

Youth Economic Participation Initiative (2012–2017): The Youth Economic Participation Initiative supported the efforts of universities in the Global South to develop innovative university-led models accelerating the transition of upper-year university students and recent alumni to the workforce.

Regional Perspectives on University Civic Engagement (2013-2016): For several years, the Network partnered with the Kettering Foundation to explore the ways in which universities around the world can mobilize their resources to create more just and prosperous communities while educating civic leaders. This collaboration produced a book, which is a fundamental guide for activist scholars dedicated to the practice of civic engagement.

University Education for Transformative Leadership in Africa (2015): University faculty and staff across Africa are pioneering innovative projects to cultivate student leaders and prepare them for satisfying livelihoods including entrepreneurship and employment. With the support from the Mastercard Foundation, the Network supported these efforts through this grant initiative. In turn, African university leaders were asked to share their learnings by way of monthly reflections and webinars.

Anchor Institutions and Community Development (2012–2015): This program’s collaborative research seminars focused on anchor institutions (institutions that are fixed in place and actively investing in their communities) and community development concepts and strategies in the U.S. and other national contexts.

University Volunteer Program (2013–2014): This joint initiative between the Talloires Network and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, funded by the Santander Group, aimed to promote global civic engagement and community building through the international exchange of students among Network member institutions.