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                Global Institutions, Local Impact:
Power and Responsibility of Engaged Universities


Registration is now open for the Talloires Network Leaders Conference (TNLC2021) to be held on 30 September – 3 October 2021. Jointly hosted on the virtual campuses of Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life and the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, the conference is a global gathering of higher education leaders and students from all regions of the world. 


TNLC2021 is a movement-building event that will provide opportunities to critically reflect on the power and responsibility of engaged universities to work together--and in partnership with communities--to sustainably and equitably address global challenges. We have designed the conference to maximize engagement and forge connections, even in a virtual format, including special opportunities for student leadership and participation. Using several interactive technology platforms, the gathering will feature dynamic plenary sessions, highly interactive breakout sessions and workshops, virtual site visits, and thematic networking sessions. View the conference agenda here

Participants will share ideas and build collaborations for action on important and interrelated issues, including Pandemic Recovery and Resilience, Conflict and Inequality, Climate Justice, Assessing Engagement, and Civic Engagement Futures.

The conference will open with welcoming remarks from Tufts University President Anthony P.  Monaco, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow and President Nieves Segovia of the Universidad Camilo José Cela (Spain).

Across the four-day conference, keynotes, plenary sessions and breakout discussions will cover topics including: 

  • Pandemic Recovery and Resilience: Engaged universities around the world took action to mitigate the harmful impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic as the crisis unfolded. Participants will learn innovative strategies and bold actions from colleagues around the globe. How did universities, students, and communities respond to COVID-19 and how do they continue to adapt? What lessons can we draw and apply to future public health (and related) crises? How are universities thinking about and building “resilience” (economic, political, social, cultural) in relation to pandemic recovery?
  • Addressing Conflict and Inequality: How have engaged universities responded  to social, economic, cultural and other inequalities in society during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what are priorities and strategies for addressing inequalities in a post-pandemic context? How are institutions fostering constructive engagement and deliberation in a global context of increasing polarization, social conflict (violent and non-violent) and decreasing civility? In addition to sharing experience and research on effective approaches to addressing these challenges, participants will exchange ideas and strategies to address inequality and promote greater justice, inclusion and social cohesion, both on campus and in the communities of which they are a part.
  • The Role of Engaged Universities in Climate Justice: Climate change is an urgent global problem. What are the roles and responsibilities of universities in addressing the causes and consequences of climate change, and how can engaged universities work together to enhance impact? Participants will critically engage on their experiences while addressing the causes of climate change at global and local levels, and how they are adapting to and addressing its social and economic impacts. Particular attention will be paid to the implications of adopting a “climate justice” frame, which relates the effects of climate change to concepts of justice, equality, human rights, and collective rights.
  • Classifications, Frameworks, and Transformative Communities of Practice for Engaged Universities: How are universities collaborating to build shared frameworks for institutionalizing, classifying and assessing university-community engagement that center communities? Talloires Network members and conference participants will share experiences of institutionalizing and assessing community engagement. Participants will reflect on existing communities of practice and share lessons learned and good practices from different regions in the world. Session participants will also discuss the tensions between comprehensive assessment-based frameworks and metric driven rankings. Particular consideration will be given to varied national and local contexts and colonial histories.
  • Civic Engagement Futures: Engaged universities around the world have played a vital role in their local communities since the start of the Coronavirus crisis. Our global gathering will provide an opportunity for participants to critically reflect on their experiences with others and commit to improvements for future action and collaboration. How might individual institutions of higher education enhance their contribution to the university civic engagement movement? How might national and regional networks for civic engagement assist with advancing our common cause? In what ways might the Talloires Network of Engaged Universities strengthen and expand the university civic engagement movement? 

A note on access and participation: This year’s conference will be held virtually on the campuses of Tufts University and Harvard University. Harvard and Tufts students can receive free registration using a promotional code. Email to receive the code. 

Sessions will be convened each day from 8:00-10:00 am EDT (UTC-4) and 12:00-2:00 pm EDT (UTC-4), with optional additional networking sessions and asynchronous content available as well. Interactive platforms will be deployed to maximize connections. Additionally, to increase global access to, and participation in, TNLC2021, we will issue Grants for Engaged Universities to member universities around the world who are able to organize and safely host small gatherings of university students, staff, faculty, administrators and community partners on campus.