20 Jan Talloires Network Leaders Conference 2014
The Talloires Network Leaders Conference 2014 (TNLC): “Live Engagement, Transform Lives” was held during the first week of December at the Spier Conference Center and Hotel located in the Stellenbosch Winelands in Cape Town, South Africa.
TNLC 2014 convened leaders of universities from around the world to chart the next stage of the global movement of higher education civic engagement and social responsibility. The conference provided a platform for leaders to share their experience and plans, identify ways to support each other’s work, and develop priorities for collective action. In this crucial era in which the growing global movement of universities are seeking to move beyond the ivory tower paradigm, TNLC reinforced the compelling leadership of national, regional and international networks that are advancing university-community partnerships on all continents.
Three overarching themes were emphasized during the conference: perspectives from the global south; youth unemployment and economic development. Breakout sessions were defined by five tracks: youth leadership; rewards and incentives; impacts and measurement; social inclusion and meetings and exchanges.
Engagement Australia (represented by Board Director Dr Megan Le Clus), in collaboration with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (represented by Member Engagement Coordinator Mr Neil Johnson), led a panel session under the ‘meetings and exchanges’ track called ‘Provocateurs of Engagement’. The panel consisted of Professor Olive Mugenda (Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities); Professor Darren Lortan (Chair of the South Africa Higher Education Community Engagement Forum); Associate Professor Pilar Aramburuzabala (Spanish Service Learning University Network) and Kate Morris (Campus Engage Coordinator for the Irish Universities Association).
The aim of the session was to contribute to the scholarship of engagement by sharing international initiatives, visons and stories – triumphs and challenges. The international panel of leading engagement ‘provocateurs’ guided the audience through a journey that afforded opportunities to define a sustainable and exciting future for engagement in higher education. Panellists described the ways that knowledge is shared and exchanged in their networks, outlined their biggest challenges as a provocateur of engagement, discussed the ways that their networks are making a difference in communities and shared their thoughts about the future of engagement from a global perspective. The audience enthusiastically joined the discussion and a couple of new provocateurs emerged from the group!