The Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), the University of Victoria (UVic) and Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) are pleased to invite you to participate in the webinar-book launch “Socially Responsible Higher Education: International Perspectives on Knowledge Democracy”.
The book, edited by UNESCO Co-Chairs in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility, Budd Hall and Rajesh Tandon, is structured in 4 parts and 22 chapters that provide a world of good practices, creative initiatives and reflections encompassing aspects such as engaged teaching, learning, decolonised curricula and partnerships. Most importantly, the book, through its chapters and examples, constitutes an inspiring narrative of social responsibility and knowledge democracy in the 21st century, allowing us to envision another model of university, which is more democratic, inclusive and sustainable.
Although universities have been since their inception eminently social institutions, in recent years, the emphasis on university social responsibility has been renewed. Universities find themselves balancing global and local demands, trying to address pressing societal issues at local and global levels while striving to be competitive in the global arena. Recent developments such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are demanding from universities to have an active societal role and impact. However, despite the fact that it is widely agreed that universities have a key role to play in addressing challenges and contributing to the wellbeing of society, they cannot do it alone. On the contrary, universities need to engage the local/regional/global communities with which they operate and collaborate to co-construct, build and disseminate knowledge in a democratic fashion, establishing horizontal and sustainable partnerships and fostering an ecosystem of knowledge where access, inclusion and sustainability are the core values.
The webinar-book launch will explore these questions by delving into different cases, initiatives and reflections from South Africa, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Ukraine. The experiences and viewpoints of guest speakers provide a valuable insight into the world of knowledge democracy and university social responsibility that is not often present in mainstream media or literature. The latter constitutes an unique opportunity for students, academics, practitioners and the wider community to be inspired and imagine a socially engaged and responsible university for the 21st century.