Talloires Network 'Linking Universities to Communities'
'Linking Universities with Communities' is a project undertaken by Tufts graduate students who have become part of the Talloires Network - a global community of activists, learners, and practitioners in 77 countries.
Our goal is to secure funding to promote radical change in academia through meaningful partnerships between universities and the communities with whom they engage. One of the universities within the network, Universidad Veracruzana, names this connection vinculación, or links. We invite you to be a link and support the work that is happening!
Did you know that there is a global network of universities committed to social justice?
The Talloires Network has members in 77 countries across the world, from South Africa to Mexico, from Malaysia to Ghana and beyond. Through the network, universities are rethinking their social responsibilities. The Network values the right to livelihood of individuals and local communities, the right to leadership opportunities and economic mobility and the right to a socially inclusive higher education that is accessible to disenfranchised and indigenous communities.
This spring graduate students at the community engagement class at Tufts immersed themselves in the work of the network, created connections by interviewing practitioners on the ground and learned about the innovative projects taking place at Universidad Veracruzana and the University of Ghana.
In our interviews and class, we discussed the prevalent vision of academia as an ivory tower that looks down at the world.
Professor Kirsten Broadfoot defines the ivory tower as "reason, rationality and rigid structures [that] colonizes the world of lived experience…functions like an exclusive club whose membership is tightly controlled by what might be called a 'dominant frame.” Academia, in this ivory tower, prioritizes a western perspective to the exclusion of others. This exclusion has real implications. For students of color, students like me who come from working class, immigrant, and other minority backgrounds, academia can be a very isolating place.
Finding community in this class and in the broader network has been transformational for me because I have witnessed how communities can and do find solutions to their most pressing challenges from within. Becoming part of the Talloires Network has made me feel like my experience is valid.
To learn more about the Talloires Network on the ground, we conducted interviews with members at partner universities. We interviewed staff at Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico. They explained their framework of Vinculación, or the idea that there are deep links that connect the university with the community in a way that allows them to work together to create a more equitable society. We believe that through frameworks like this, change is possible.
In this class, we prioritized the knowledge that comes from our stories and our lived experience. Community-based institutions like food markets, neighborhood centers or hair salons, -- are places where there is also a rich exchange of stories and ideas.
I experienced this type of learning on a recent trip to the University of Ghana. I met with Godfrey Mills and his engineering students about their efforts to address health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Universities benefit from community knowledge when they make it a core part of their social responsibility, and see themselves as partners with local communities in solving local problems.
The network links universities around the world who play this important role.
We invite you to be the link! Join in building and strengthening this global movement of engaged universities by donating to the Network!