Harvard and Tufts to Host Global Civic Engagement Summit


For Immediate Release: October 2, 2019

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, MATufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life and Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics have been selected to jointly host the next Talloires Network Leaders Conference, a global gathering of universities focused on civic engagement and leadership. The Talloires Network is an international association of nearly 400 institutions in 77 countries committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education.

The conference, scheduled for September 24-27, 2020, will bring together university, nonprofit and community leaders from around the world. The 2020 convening is chaired by Alan Solomont, dean of Tisch College, and Mark D. Gearan, director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.

Through workshops and plenary sessions, with a theme of “Global Universities, Local Impact,” the conference will explore how universities can contribute to a healthier, safer and more sustainable world; how to assess that impact; and how to strengthen it. Together, participants will engage in critical reflection and dialogue, exchange ideas and collaborate on strategic planning efforts.

“I am proud that Tufts and Harvard will partner to host this global gathering of university leaders who share a vision of higher education as a dynamic force for creating and maintaining healthy and safe communities, an innovative workforce, and a robust and engaged civil society,” said Anthony P. Monaco, Tufts University president. “This conference of Talloires Network member institutions offers unique opportunities to exchange experiences and best practices with university and community partners from around the world, as we seek to embed civic engagement and community service as foundational aspects of our mission in teaching and research.”

“As one of the founding members of The Talloires Network, it is my honor to host our international peers for this important and timely conversation about the role and opportunity of higher education institutions in civil society,” said Lawrence S. Bacow, Harvard University president. “The Talloires Network continues to foster important partnerships between institutions of higher education and communities to ensure we are addressing consequential societal issues and shape the future of our field together.”

Sara Ladrón, rector of Universidad Veracruzana and vice chair of the Talloires Network, pointed to the potential of the gathering to tackle pressing global issues.

“Human migration has occurred throughout the history of humanity and is reflected in the demographic composition of our countries,” Ladrón said. “Today is a time of crisis around the world, with governments adopting positions of intolerance and discrimination against vulnerable populations. Talloires Network member universities have pledged to promote universal human values and rights and to play an active role in advancing social responsibility. The 2020 conference at Tufts and Harvard carries great potential to strengthen our common purpose.”

Both Harvard University and Tufts University have deep connections to the Talloires Network, as founding members who share a vision of a global higher education system that engages all students in their communities and promotes the power of young people to change the world Bacow served as Chair and convener of the first Talloires Network conference in 2005, Monaco serves as the current Chair of the Steering Committee, and the Tisch College of Civic Life houses the Secretariat of the Network.

This is the fifth global conference since the Network’s founding in 2005. Previous conferences were convened in: Talloires, France; Madrid, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; and Veracruz, Mexico. The 2020 conference is expected to draw hundreds of participants and will include sessions on Tufts University’s Medford/Somerville campus and Harvard Kennedy School’s Cambridge campus.

Media outlets should contact: Kelsey Donohue at kelsey_donohue@hks.harvard.edu or (516) 551-2783, or Jen McAndrew at jennifer.mcandrew@tufts.edu or (617) 627-2029.