Community engagement for building bridges between cultures, disciplines & generations

International Colloquium 2016 – July 13th –15th

Universities as a part of societies are increasingly confronted with global and social challenges which reach far beyond the usual scope of education and research. This includes the dissolving of borders; the consequences of migration, segregation, immigration, and many more. One possibility of universities to contribute to the solving of such challenges is presently debated as community engagement of univer­sities. This conference aims at the development of an applicable agenda for an increase of community engage­ment in Germany, an agenda that helps to approach relevant stakeholders and players in the academic field.

All participants will be given the chance to contribute and reflect on their own experiences and develop ideas how universities can respond to needs in diverse social communities outside of the academic field. The expected learning outcome is to support to develop ideas of community engage­ment.

The conference schedule reflects three major challenges of community engage­ment:

  1. The challenge to bring different academic disciplines together, in order to solve complex social problems in a meaningful and cooperative way (applied interdisciplinary science).
  2. The challenge to make a pro­ductive use of diverse ideas about what universities are and what roles they should play in society, especially in times of increased migration within Europe and between its neighboring regions (cultural diversity and history of universities).
  3. The challenge to communicate and work with people from diverse and very different social and educational backgrounds. This also implies the chance to open universities to non-traditional students (lifelong learning across generations and biographies).

The International Colloquium addresses academics from Germany and beyond as well as everyone who is interested in thinking about the possibilities of community engagement of universities. The Colloquium runs for three days (one afternoon, one full day, one morning) and combines lectures, discussions, and workshops, covering the three topics as outlined above. The conference language is English. The conference is free of charge.

The International Colloquium takes place in the Gebrüder Schmid Zentrum, a house where people of different generations living together. Furthermore the open-door café is a chance for homeless, lonely persons and immi­grants to get in contact with the society.

So this location is also a statement of integration and support a loving togetherness.

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