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First International Forum on University Social Responsibility: Different Meanings of Social Responsibility


Higher Education of the 21st Century has been faced with various shifts in political, economic, social and environmental landscape; and among these salient shifts is the rise of Knowledge Society which emphasizes Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs) relationship with the society. HEIs now are challenged to carry a wider perspective – agendas do not merely concern the individual institution’s interest, but to effectively engage with the local and global communities.

Universities have embraced different faces of ‘social responsibility’ such as initiatives ranging from Development Cooperation, Community Engagement to Social Entrepreneurship – different approaches involving different mechanisms, actors and resources. As universities have their own interpretations and practices of what ‘social responsibility’ is, there is a necessity to collectively reflect and exercise dialogue in order to understand and pursue a more critical and integrated perspective.

With this, Seoul National University’s Institute for Global Social Responsibility (SNU-IGSR), a newly established institute to enhance SNU’s global activities regarding social responsibility, organized its 1st International Forum on University Social Responsibility under the theme, Different Meanings of Social Responsibility in partnership with the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), UNESCO Bangkok Office and UNESCO Chair on Community-Based Research & Social Responsibility in Higher Education. The forum covered cover different approaches and practices of Social Responsibility and explored issues, opportunities and recommendations concerning university social responsibility.


Picture: Delegation at the Seoul International Forum
The forum also served as a platform to launch the Higher Education in the World Series5. Knowledge Engagement and Higher Education: Contributing to Social Change published by GUNi. The second day of the forum will be dedicated for the GUNi Asia-Pacific Network meeting to share best practices and discuss possible research cooperation.
The objectives of the forum included to:

  • To reinforce the Asia-Pacific University Network for Social Responsibility
  • To share innovative approaches and practices of university social responsibility
  • To identify potential joint research activities
  • To launch the GUNi Higher Education in the World Series5
  • To establish Seoul Declaration on University Social Responsibility

Dr Rajesh Tandon delivered the keynote address at the forum on “Global Social Responsibility and Challenges in Higher Education”. He spoke about the kind of future we all are stepping into, which is plagued with problems like inequality, exclusion and environmental degradation, and the importance of social responsibility in such a scenario, specially that in higher education. He also briefed about various new possibilities of engagement, along with sharing the opportunities for future action.

More pics of the Conference can be found at: https://igsr.snu.ac.kr/ifusr/2014/page_01.htm

Seoul, Korea
24th – 25th of March’ 2014

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