In 2009, the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway entered into a nine partner university collaboration to embed civic engagement and service learning in universities in Jordan and Lebanon. This partnership, entitled Tawasol Project has been funded by the European Union Tempus IV programme. The final Tawasol Project Report demonstrated the growth and expansion of civic engagement and service learning within five universities in Jordan and Lebanon.
The ultimate goals of the Tawasol Project is to give university students an experience within community that facilitates them to become engaged and active democratic citizens, to forge links between universities and community in the Arab World and to transform the curriculum.
The Tawasol Project, Tawasol means engagement and interaction in Arabic, is in its final year of funding and can boast of many significant achievements, including the establishment and growth of service learning within the curriculum and the development of centres for civic engagement and service learning in the partner universities.
Staff and students of NUI Galway have travelled extensively through Jordan and Lebanon offering training and experiences of civic engagement in Ireland. Students and staff from each of the partner universities have shared their contextual and cultural experiences of civic engagement and service learning.
At the outset of the project, in 2009, NUI Galway hosted 40 academic staff from Jordan and Lebanon on a Study Tour that enabled the development of a number of service learning modules that were subsequently piloted and embedded.
In 2012, over 30 students from Jordan, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Sweden, Spain, England and Ireland attended a two week Tawasol Intenational Student Exchange faciliated by the CKI at NUI Galway. As part of this exchange students embedded academic learning within a community context, working with over 20 local Galway based community and voluntary organisations. The following feature film highlights their experiences:
CKI has recently joined the International Science Shop Network through its new programme Engaging People in Communities-EPIC- which promotes Community-Engaged Research and many other forms of Knowledge Exchange. The International Living Knowledge Network (LK)aims at giving citizens access to scientific research and it is for people interested in building partnerships for public access to research. Members of the network exchange information, documentation, ideas, experiences and expertise on community-based research and science and society relations in general.
The Talloires Network is an international association of institutions committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education. These institutions together to implement the recommendations of the Talloires Declaration and build a global movement of engaged universities. NUI Galway has endorsed the Talloires Declaration and has agreed to the following:
In 2009, NUI Galway was a MacJannet Prize finalist through the Clinical Legal Education programme which was the first of its kind in Ireland. Final year students in NUIG's Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) programme put their theoretical knowledge and legal skills to work in the wider community. They undertake "real world" placements on a part-time, one semester basis as opposed to sitting a traditional academic module. They earn academic credit, enhance their practical legal skills and, because most of the placements are with organisations and practitioners that work on behalf of the marginalised, see how law can be used to advance the public interest.In 2010, NUI Galway's Community Awareness Initiatives Responsibly-Directed by Engineers (CAIRE) received second prize. CAIRDE is a service-learning programme where all third-year Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering students apply academic knowledge and skills to address genuine community needs. Established in 2003 by Professor Abhay Pandit, it became an embedded part of the undergraduate Mechanical, Biomedical, and Electrical Engineering programs as part of a required module that previously had been solely lecture-based. The emphasis is on interacting directly with intended beneficiaries of projects.
In 2009 and 2012, NUI Galway became the offical Education Partners of the Volvo Ocean Race which is a premier world-wide sporting event. The race finale in Galway involved hundreds of student volunteers through the ALIVE Programme. The Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier yacht race for professional racing crews. The 2012 race marked the 11th running of this ocean marathon series since it began life in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race and is one of the world's toughest sporting events. 650,000 people visited the Race Village during the Galway stopover in 2009 of the Volvo Ocean Race. 10,000 people lined the harbour walls at 3am on the morning of 24th May 2009 to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into Ireland, culminating in record crowds of almost 200,000 for the In Port and Pro Am Race. The Volvo Ocean Race 2012 fleet arrived from Lorient to Galway to the biggest festival in Ireland, that embraced all cultures from each of the race stopovers. In 2012, the Volvo Ocean Race Grand Finale was an eight day festival of marine, sport, culture and arts, entertainment and food. NUI Galway studnet volunteers were key to the success of the Galway Volvo events and became the ‘face' of the event to visitors at the Race Village.
Campus Compact is a USA coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents-representing some 6 million students-who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students' citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Campus Compact's membership includes public, private, two- and four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education.Campus Compact advances the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.On joining Campus Compact, NUI Galway became a signatory of the Presidents' Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education which commits the university to the persuit of civic responsibility.
Roads to Recognition is a project currently underway in Europe concerning the exchange of good practices and the development of support for volunteering organisations in terms of methods and tools of skills recognition acquired through volunteering activity.The project idea is based on a collaboration at European level to adjust the assessment of competences used in a career guidance context, into a voluntary service context. The partnership is also oriented to share specific methodologies of accompaniment of volunteering used by the different partner organizations, as well as to develop a strategy to use theEuropean Skills Passport and the EQF in volunteering organizations.The European Skills Passport and in particular the Europass experience are to become the Europe wide promoted and recognised tool to document knowledge, competences, and skills acquired through volunteering.The objectives of the project are to:
* Exchange ideas and experiences on volunteering/non formal learning
* Produce a handbook or Etraining resource for volunteer centres and other institutions that train and support volunteering organisations* Develop a strategy to use the European Skills Passport and EQF/NQF in volunteering organisations* Disseminate the project outcomes.
Project partners:Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland - The NetherlandsEducation and Social Research Centre - PolandCzech Council of Children and YouthNational University of Ireland, GalwayPan Cyprian Volunteerism Coordinative Council
Associated project partners:
European Volunteer Centre
Dutch National Europass Centre
European Association for the Education of Adults
Follow the Roads to Recognition Project on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RoadsToRecognition?fref=ts