Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Talloires Network Leaders Conference

I am here in South Africa to attend the Talloires Network Leaders Conference (TNLC), an international network of hundreds of universities on civic engagement, led by Tufts University.  There are many excellent speakers.  

We were most impressed by Professor Catherine Odora Hoppers of University of South Africa. She pointed out that the area of Africa is larger than the USA and China and India and a host of other countries added together.  She made a strong case of the “Global South” as a state of the mind, rather than a geographical or economical concept.  She also observed that the Europeans and Americans are still dominating the Global South, not with military power anymore, but with culture - they are still colonising Africa without physically being there. 

Here I renew acquaintances with many people from Tufts, Talloires, Campus Compact, Minnesota, …  And I get to make new contacts with people from South Africa, Rwanda, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Pakistan, Malaysia, …  Many people are genuinely surprised and impressed that our university has made such commitment to and progress in service-learning - that we have 3,000 students (soon to be 4,000) taking credit-bearing courses on SL as a requirement. Many developing countries are inviting us to work with them, when they hear about our work in Rwanda and elsewhere.  Many people also asked about the student-led Occupy Movement in Hong Kong. 

All in all, a very successful conference. 

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