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Our Mission and Vision

The Talloires Network of Engaged Universities is a growing global coalition of 406 university presidents, vice-chancellors and rectors in 78 countries who have publicly committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of their institutions. It is the largest international network focused particularly on university civic engagement.

We work together to implement the principles of the Talloires Declaration, collaborating with communities and partners to confront societal challenges such as disease, famine, structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequality, and climate change.

We envision universities around the world as dynamic forces in their communities, incorporating civic engagement into their research and pedagogies — and building relationships through a productive exchange of knowledge, ideas, and practices.

We recognize and celebrate the diversity of ethical approaches to university civic engagement. We support engagement in all its forms including community-based research, applied research, service-learning, experiential learning, extension, volunteerism, public service, policymaking, political activism, and social entrepreneurship.

We strive to expand definitions of success in order to foster more inclusive and impactful university civic engagement. We advocate the most promising practices from our members, particularly those in the Global South.

We strategically partner with national and regional networks for university civic engagement. In solidarity, we are building a global movement of civically engaged universities.

Our Values

  • Collaboration: We believe in the power of working together toward a common vision. We encourage reciprocity, the co-generation of knowledge and learning between universities and communities, embracing difference as an essential ingredient of productive collaboration.  We call into question the notion of expertise as a limited resource, supporting multiple ways of knowing and multiple ways of understanding.
  • Inclusion: We seek to promote human rights and further the free exchange of knowledge, ideas, and practices by organizing convenings, conversations, and collaborative activities. We strive to amplify the voices and lived experiences of all marginalized groups including refugees, Indigenous Peoples, children, women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. We believe this is only possible in an environment committed to fostering respect, dignity, and justice.
  • Equity: We aspire to build a diverse coalition of universities, university leaders, faculty, staff, students, and community partners in which all are able to learn, thrive, and contribute to shaping societies and the future of higher education. We support the development of capacities such as empathy, humility, and courage in all people, individually and collectively, to create more equitable and prosperous communities around the world.
  • Leadership: We believe that universities have a responsibility to develop the next generation of active citizens with the capacity to address the complex challenges around the world. We seek to inspire and empower university students to take action by providing resources to support community collaborations. We offer opportunities for students to connect with one another and contribute to the university civic engagement movement.
  • Innovation: We aim to advance the application of high standards and the evolution of ethical ideas and strategies in the field of university civic engagement. We champion university-community collaborations that are adaptable and quick to respond to emerging social issues. We encourage societal transformation through a process of simultaneous action and research and continual reflection on power relations and institutional structures.
  • Hope: We believe people are central to engagement and we seek to invest in their aspirations. We strive to realize the potential of university civic engagement as a practical strategy for improving research and teaching and addressing societal challenges. We work to leverage the collective imagination and generative utility of universities to improve the lives of all people and better communities around the world.

Our Goals

  • Champion ethical and diverse approaches to university civic engagement
  • Financially support innovative approaches to university civic engagement
  • Identify and publicly recognize engaged universities
  • Reinforce institutional commitments to civic engagement practices, structures and policies
  • Build an international community of practice and facilitate rigorous and critical reflection on those practices
  • Elevate innovative civic engagement research and teaching by disseminating the approaches throughout the Network as examples of promising practice
  • Raise awareness about the public role of universities and strengthen public support for the global civic engagement movement in higher education
  • Engage with new members and network partners, expanding the reach and impact of the university civic engagement movement

Organization

The Talloires Network of Engaged Universities is governed by an elected, international Steering Committee. In June 2011, Network members ratified Rules of Organization and Governance to institutionalize the Steering Committee’s responsibilities and called for replacement of the founding body with a Steering Committee nominated and elected by the full membership. University presidents, vice-chancellors, rectors and other higher education leaders bring their skills, experience, and resources to the table in guiding and supporting the Network’s strategic direction and activities.

Currently, the Steering Committee consists of 14 members. Nine are current or former heads of higher education institutions, three are heads of national or regional higher education networks for university civic engagement, and two are student representatives. The Committee members represent 11 countries around the world  (Australia, Canada, Egypt, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, United States). Officers include a Chair (Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco) and a Vice-Chair (Universidad Veracruzana Rector Sara Ladrón de Guevara).

The Talloires Network of Engaged Universities is administered by a secretariat, which is based at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. The Executive Director of the secretariat reports to the Steering Committee Chair.

Currently, there are 406 Talloires Network member institutions across 78 countries. More information about our members can be found here.