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Thanks to the participation and support of members and partners like yourself, the 2021 Talloires Network Leaders Conference was a grand success by various measures!

Co-hosted by Tufts University and Harvard University, TNLC2021 reached more than 1,400 university leaders, faculty, staff, students, and community partners from 53 countries worldwide. The “hub-and-spoke model” was highly effective in increasing global conference access and direct participation as we provided 18 Grants for Engaged Universities in 14 countries to host safe local gatherings. Additionally, all 24 sessions were held in English and Spanish, and recordings were posted to accommodate time zone differences.

To help us improve future Talloires Network Leaders Conferences, we provided a post-conference survey to all registrants. We would like to thank all who completed the survey for your invaluable feedback. The survey was available in English and Spanish. We achieved a response rate of 17%.

Statistics at a glance:

  • 91% of conference survey respondents indicated this was the “first time they have attended a Talloires Network conference”
  • 92% of survey respondents feel like they “are part of” the Talloires Network after attending the conference
  • 99% of survey respondents “would encourage others to attend future Talloires Network Leaders Conferences”

Maria Gitau (NGL student, Strathmore University) speaks during the Civic Engagement Futures session. This student-led session critically examined the ways universities can be active and positive forces in their communities in a post-pandemic world.

When asked “what was the highlight of the conference for you,” the most common themes from survey respondents included:

  • Hearing from student leaders from around the world
  • Networking with and learning from other university students, faculty, and staff during interactive breakout sessions
  • Sharing challenges and solutions presented by COVID-19
  • Discussing service-learning approaches at different universities
  • The role of engaged universities in climate justice

Participant comments included: 

“It was a fantastic experience, and I gained a lot of insight, not only from my peers, but from all the other accomplished academics.”

“My highlight was definitely learning about the service-based learning approach that many universities in the Talloires Network utilize and how it needed to be modified because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am looking forward to a service-based model of learning in my own institution.”

"It is a great way for students and young leaders to engage on key issues that face them and the world at large."

“I saw a lot of resilience in the youth that presented and despite the obstacles they face, which was more difficult for them due to the pandemic, they were able to continue fighting for what they believe in. It made me aware of how youth can have a big impact, no matter where we come from, all it takes is for us to always think positively and innovatively in times of crisis.”

During the Civic Engagement Futures session on closing day, moderator Nico Koopman responds to the eye-opening student discussion, noting, "Normally we sleep at this time. We are wide-awake.”

Some suggestions for improvement included:

  • Having an in-person event to forge even stronger connections and dialogue
  • Creating additional ways for attendees to continue networking and sharing ideas after the conference
  • Advertising and promoting the event to reach a wider audience
  • Increasing access to the conference for different time zones around the world


Participants at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, (part of the “hub and spoke model,”) watching a TNLC2021 session.


Map of TNLC2021 Participants

Conference participants were also invited to complete a survey to share information about themselves with others and facilitate online connections. The online interactive mapping platform allowed us all to visualize the geographic distribution of participants around the world (see below).

The Talloires Network of Engaged Universities thanks all who were able to attend, whether virtually or from a local gathering, and to those who responded to our feedback survey. Your input is vital in creating an even stronger network and future movement-building events.

You may learn about the conference agenda, speakers, and more here.