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Community Engagement Conference, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, May 31- June 2, 2017


Durban University of Technology, in association with Rhodes University convened a Community Engagement Conference from May 31- June 2, 2017. Dr Rajesh Tandon, UNESCO Co-Chair participated in the conference as the keynote speaker. His keynote presentation was titled, ‘Community Based Participatory Research: Past, Present & Future’. Dr Tandon traced his journey in the field of CBPR and shared his past experiences in the field. He also reflected on the myriad manifestations of CBPR in the current context and the opportunities in store for the future.
Apart from his contribution as the keynote speaker; Dr Tandon participated in several events at Durban. A brief account is as follows:

  • Public lecture on ‘University-Civil Society Relations: Partnerships of Respect’, May 31, 2017:

 Dr Rajesh Tandon, on the eve of the Community Engagement Conference, at Durban University of Technology, delivered a public lecture on ”Universities & Civil Society: Partnerships of Respect’ yesterday, May 30, 2017. He emphasized on the importance of mutually beneficial relationship between the institutions, as being crucial for the development of ‘new knowledge’ required to address contemporary societal challenges. He said that the ‘very difference in the nature of the two institutions, bring value to such a partnership’. He also outlined the history of such partnership, challenges and its importance in the current pretext. He mentioned that how both can help each other achieve shared objectives; immensely improving student’s learning outcomes and opportunities in the bargain.

  • Radio Talk Show, ‘Walk the Talk’ on Lotus FM, South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

Dr Tandon joined popular RJ, Alan Khan on South Africa’s most famous talk show, ‘Walk the Talk’, on Lotus FM and talks about his journey, current state of affairs in universities & how community engagement can help prepare globally active & responsible citizens. He was accompanied by Dr Darren Brendan Lortan, fellow colleague from Durban University of Technology. The talk show was aired on May 31, 2017.

  • Launch of Knowledge for Change (K4C) Africa

Dr Tandon, in partnership with Durban University of Technology & Rhodes University, and with support from the South Africa’s national funding agency, the National Research Foundation (NRF), launched the Knowledge for Change (K4C) Africa program. The K4C global Consortium (which includes Africa as a training hub) is an international partnered training initiative between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) & Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for co-creation of knowledge through collective action by academics & community groups working together, for achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr Tandon laid down the roadmap for the execution of the initiative, and the team agreed on a set of ways forward on how to move ahead with the implementation of the initiative.

  • Launch of 6th GUNi Higher Education in the World Report 6

Dr Tandon also launched the 6th  GUNi Higher Education in the World Report 6, at the Durban University of Technology on the eve of the Community Engagement Conference. Titled, ‘Towards a socially responsible university: Balancing the global with the local’, the report underlines the contributions of HEIs towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for fulfilling their social responsibilities. The UNESCO Co-Chairs, Dr Hall & Dr Tandon served in the editorial team of the report.

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