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TEFCE Consultation with the Unesco chair for Community Based Research and Social Eesponsibility in Higher Education

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Date(s) - 02/03/2019
12:00 am


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• Information shared about the work of UNESCO Chair in CBR and their emphasis on community-based research primarily in developing countries and building capacities for the transformative potential of such research in those contexts, with their flagship initiative being the Knowledge for Change project (K4C).

• The TEFCE project is of interest to the UNESCO Chair in CBR and the initial result of the project (the first project publication) and the initial principles of the TEFCE Toolbox appear promising.

• As initial feedback to the project, while the TEFCE emphasis on a ‘bottom-up’ perspective to community engagement is important, in the experience of the UNESCO Chair in CBR it is often the formal institutionalisation of community engagement that is crucial (strategic plans; formal partnerships; earmarked funding). Otherwise, community engagement rarely goes beyond the realm of individual enthusiasts and has questionable sustainability.

• Regarding possible cooperation with the TEFCE project, the UNESCO Chair in CBR is open to idea of participating in special meeting/workshop along with other external experts to discuss the TEFCE toolbox (at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020), if incurred costs can be covered by the TEFCE project. While it is too early now to consider the option of the UNESCO Chair in CBR formally “endorsing” the TEFCE project and its Toolbox, this could be discussed later in the project once the Toolbox is developed and published.

• Regarding link to UNESCO as a whole and possible advocacy of community engagement in HE at that level, UNESCO will most probably organise a Conference on HE in 2021 (the first since 2009) – it will be possible there to advocate a stronger role for community engagement. The way to agenda-set there is via national UNESCO ambassadors.

• Overall, the advice for the TEFCE project was that our work should strategically link our work on community engagement in HE with the sustainable development goals. The SDGs are increasingly prominent at the policy-making level worldwide, including in discussions about how universities should contribute to society. There is a growing number of platforms, conferences and funding streams that support the implementation of the SDGs, so it would be wise to make good use of this opportunity to advocate community engagement in higher education.

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