NUI Galway Host the 17th International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement

The Quadrangle, NUI Galway
Sep 12 2017 Posted: 14:07 IST

The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway will welcome over 350 international delegates from across the US, South Africa, Egypt, Europe, South America and Australia, to mention a few, to the 17th International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement Annual Conference between the 14-16 September.

NUI Galway is particularly proud to host this important event as this marks the first occasion that it will be held outside North America. The University has been chosen given its international reputation for placing civic engagement and service learning as a core pillar of the university experience. For three days, delegates will discuss the role of higher education within society through community engagement and service learning. 

Keynote speeches will be offered by a range of international experts including Professor Imanol Ordorika from the University of Mexico on the theme of “Social Activism and Politics: A New Paradigm for Universities?” Also an international keynote panel will address the impact of community engagement on students, community and universities which will include perspectives from the US, South Africa, Europe and Ireland.

Service learning is a teaching approach that connects student learning to the needs of the community. Lorraine McIlrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at 

NUI Galway and Conference Programme Chair, said: “Students at NUI Galway have an opportunity to use their knowledge to connect with real world problems. Biomedical Engineering students design and build prototypes for people with physical disabilities; nursing students address the implications of nursing in an Irish multi-cultural context and law students offer pro bono legal information to community partners. We feel that this type of learning can open students’ minds to their role as agents of change within the community and society.”

The theme of the 2017 conference “Gateways - Charting New Territories & Forging Relationships” has been inspired by numerous of international debates, concerns and discourses. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland has spearheaded the discourse of ethical renewal within the context of Ireland. He is a former academic from NUI Galway, a poet, a cultural icon and philosopher who has a sharp sense of the role a university offers within the society. 

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland’s, “Presidency of Ideas” continues to encourage all to recognise and be open to new concepts of thought and action; to develop a new public discourse that places human flourishing and an ethic of active citizenship at its heart. He believes in the practice of knowledge, democracy and that “knowledge, insight and vision are but the service of the community. With the privilege to pursue knowledge comes the civic responsibility to engage and put that knowledge to work in the service of humanity.” (2012). While this is an on-going Irish debate it has international application, and is at the heart of the conference ethos and mission. 

For further information contact Lorraine McIlrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative on +353 87 7682099


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