Harvard and Tufts to Host Global Civic Engagement Summit

Talloires Network Conference 2020 will bring together university leaders and community organizations from around the world to discuss higher education’s role in civic life

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Oct. 2, 2019)–Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life and Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics have been selected to jointly host the next Talloires Network Leaders Conference, a global gathering of universities focused on civic engagement and leadership. The Talloires Network is an international association of nearly 400 institutions in 77 countries committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education.

The conference, scheduled for September 24-27, 2020, will bring together university, nonprofit and community leaders from around the world. The 2020 convening is chaired by Alan Solomont, dean of Tisch College, and Mark D. Gearan, director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.

Through workshops and plenary sessions, with a theme of “Global Universities, Local Impact,” the conference will explore how universities can contribute to a healthier, safer and more sustainable world; how to assess that impact; and how to strengthen it. Together, participants will engage in critical reflection and dialogue, exchange ideas and collaborate on strategic planning efforts.

“I am proud that Tufts and Harvard will partner to host this global gathering of university leaders who share a vision of higher education as a dynamic force for creating and maintaining healthy and safe communities, an innovative workforce, and a robust and engaged civil society,” said Anthony P. Monaco, Tufts University president. “This conference of Talloires Network member institutions offers unique opportunities to exchange experiences and best practices with university and community partners from around the world, as we seek to embed civic engagement and community service as foundational aspects of our mission in teaching and research.”

“As one of the founding members of The Talloires Network, it is my honor to host our international peers for this important and timely conversation about the role and opportunity of higher education institutions in civil society,” said Lawrence S. Bacow, Harvard University president. “The Talloires Network continues to foster important partnerships between institutions of higher education and communities to ensure we are addressing consequential societal issues and shape the future of our field together.”

Sara Ladrón, rector of Universidad Veracruzana and vice chair of the Talloires Network, pointed to the potential of the gathering to tackle pressing global issues.

“Human migration has occurred throughout the history of humanity and is reflected in the demographic composition of our countries,” Ladrón said. “Today is a time of crisis around the world, with governments adopting positions of intolerance and discrimination against vulnerable populations. Talloires Network member universities have pledged to promote universal human values and rights and to play an active role in advancing social responsibility. The 2020 conference at Tufts and Harvard carries great potential to strengthen our common purpose.”

Both Harvard University and Tufts University have deep connections to the Talloires Network, as founding members who share a vision of a global higher education system that engages all students in their communities and promotes the power of young people to change the world Bacow served as Chair and convener of the first Talloires Network conference in 2005, Monaco serves as the current Chair of the Steering Committee, and the Tisch College of Civic Life houses the Secretariat of the Network.

This is the fifth global conference since the Network’s founding in 2005. Previous conferences were convened in: Talloires, France; Madrid, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; and Veracruz, Mexico. The 2020 conference is expected to draw hundreds of participants and will include sessions on Tufts University’s Medford/Somerville campus and Harvard Kennedy School’s Cambridge campus.

Media outlets should contact: Jen McAndrew at jennifer.mcandrew@tufts.edu or 617 627-2029.

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The Talloires Network (https://talloiresnetwork.tufts.edu/) is an international association of institutions committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education. We believe that education institutions do not exist in isolation from society, nor from the communities in which they are located. The Talloires Network envisions universities around the world as a vibrant and dynamic force in their societies, incorporating civic engagement and community service into their research and teaching mission.

The only university-wide college of its kind, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life (http://tischcollege.tufts.edu/) offers transformational student learning and service opportunities, conducts groundbreaking research on young people’s civic and political participation, and forges innovative community partnerships. Its work is guided by two core beliefs: that communities, nations and the world are stronger, more prosperous, and more just when citizens actively participate in civic and democratic life; and that higher education has a responsibility to develop the next generation of active citizens.

The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School (iop.harvard.edu) was established in 1966 as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The Institute’s mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service. The Institute blends the academy with practical politics and offers students the opportunity to engage on current events and to acquire skills and perspective that will assist in their postgraduate choices.

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