Dialogue on Civil Society

Events and Activities

On January 20, 2012, an all day campus-wide session was held with almost 100 participants. Participants were challenged to reenvision undergraduate education, to identify knowledge and skills needed by civil society organizations, and to move to meet global challenges.

Speakers included President Alastair Summerlee, Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and Dr. Budd Hall, Secretary to the Global Alliance on Community Based Research and holder of the UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education.

Participants discussed and reflected on what the University of Guelph is already doing, including existing innovations in engaging community and civil society and current challenges that a new school for civil society could address. Participants were also asked to envision directions for a school for civil society. General and detailed suggestions were made for next steps and perceived obstacles and key considerations for creating a school for civil society, such as funding and challenges of interdisciplinarity, were identified.

Rich discussions occurred about who the participants in a school for civil society would be and where to focus the school in terms of local/global engagement. Issues surrounding naming the school, including contentions around the term ‘civil society’ were also discussed.

The summary report is available here, or click below to view video footage from the event:

  • Paul Davidson’s Presentation: Part 123
  • Q&A with Alastair Summerlee and Paul Davidson: Part 45
  • Budd Hall’s Presentation: Part 1234

Many of the issues that were discussed at this event, such as pedagogy and conceptualizing civil society,  have also been addressed by some of the working groups. Click here to explore the working groups and their findings.

Re-imagining the role of the university bottom arrow

Dialogue goals

  • Broaden and deepen our and thinking on the meaning of civil society
  • Explore the linkages between the universities and civil society sectors
  • Engage university and civil society constituents in a process of imagining how the University of Guelph can move in a direction of greater engagement

Building Blocks of Civil Society