The Talloires Network Leaders Conference (TNLC2021), hosted by Tufts University and Harvard University (30 September – 3 October), brought together hundreds of university presidents, vice-chancellor, rectors, faculty, student leaders, and community partners around the world to share ideas, build momentum, and create a more equitable and just future. This was the fifth global conference since the Network’s founding in 2005 and our first hybrid conference. To expand conference access and participation in under-resourced countries, we created the “hub-and-spoke” model.
The “hub-and-spoke model” was highly effective in increasing global conference access and direct participation. We provided 18 Grants for Engaged Universities in 14 countries around the world; each hosted local TNLC2021 gathering thanks to generous support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, Mastercard Foundation, and Open Society Foundations. Grant recipients included institutions in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Egypt, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. We admire the courage and conviction of grant recipients, many of whom faced significant obstacles.
Despite a number of barriers, grant recipients found innovative and inspiring ways to participate in TNLC2021. We heard from several grantees about the challenges they faced and overcame.
“I learned about Climate Change and its huge impacts on the lower class. Rainfall patterns in Zimbabwe are no longer predictable due to climate change. Everyone has a part to play, but as students we have a greater part to play because we are the future, and education should not be confined to the four corners of our classrooms…”
– Samantha Malasha, a Speech and Language Therapy Undergraduate at University of Zimbabwe. Samantha was among the 20 students who safely gathered at the University of Zimbabwe to virtually participate in TNLC2021. Hear more takeaways from UZ students here.
“The pandemic presented us with several challenges, but at the same time, it made possible many possibilities to be creative and innovate in different processes and activities at our university."
– Joao Elton de Jesús, a scholarship recipient from Centro Latinoamericano de Aprendizaje y Servicio Solidario (CLAYSS) in Brazil.
“I learned a lot about resilience stories by the youths that presented during the panel sessions, and that despite the obstacles they faced, they were able to continue the fighting for what they believed in. It made me aware of how youths can have a big impact, no matter where we come from. All it takes is just for us to take initiative and always think positively and innovatively in times of crisis.”
– Yang Xing Zhi, a student at the International Medical University (Malaysia)
"It is important that we are part of promoting more spaces for the promotion of critical thinking and questioning. Productive discussions and taking fair dialogues, from a rights-based approach."
– Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua participant
Feedback from Participants
We heard from several universities about the ways in which their local gatherings created new opportunities for collaboration and the creation of initiatives born out of conference topics.
Filliam Efiti of LivingStone International University (Uganda), describes one of the results from their event being that "the team resolved as individuals to become members of the Talloires Network, and advocate for membership by the universities, and organizations they came from." Filliam notes that the "student body also formed a joint group to venture more into a community engagement program by partnering with other universities which were represented in the conference.”
Stephen Langa of Makerere University (Uganda) describes an exciting new proposal, saying, “One of the outstanding outcomes from the conference is a proposal to initiate a project for service-learning at Makerere University. To this end, the presenter of this topic Carol Ma, has already been contacted."
The locations of the grant recipients around the world can be seen below.
The Talloires Network of Engaged Universities thanks all who were able to attend, whether virtually or from a local gathering. You may learn about the conference agenda, speakers, and more here.