UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility
Mission / Vision
The UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education grows out of and supports the UNESCO global lead to play “a key role in assisting countries to build knowledge societies”.
This recently created UNESCO Chair uniquely has its home in two complementary but distinct institutions. It is co-located at the Community Development Programme in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria (UVic) in Canada and at the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) located in New Delhi, India. Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Founding President of PRIA and Dr. Budd L Hall, Professor of Community Development at UVic serve as the first Co-Chairs. The Global Alliance for Community-Engaged Research (GACER) is the global network facilitated by Drs. Tandon and Hall to influence policy development and to share lessons within key regional and global spaces and it serves as a link to regional and global networks around the world.
This UNESCO Chair is unique in two respects; it creates a Co-Chair mechanism in two different institutions; and these two institutions are distinctive: UVic a university of excellence in western Canada and Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) based in India. It is also unique since a civil society organisation (PRIA) has been named in this UNESCO Chair for the first time.
The UNESCO Chair supports North-South-South and South-South partnerships that build on and enhance the emerging consensus in knowledge democracy. It strengthens recent collaboration between the Higher Education section in UNESCO, the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI) and the Global Alliance on Community University Engagement (GACER). It co-creates new knowledge through partnerships among universities (academics), communities (civil society) and government (policy-makers) leading to new capacities; new solutions to pressing problems related to sustainability, social and economic disparities, cultural exclusion, mistrust and conflict; awareness among policy makers; enhanced scholarship of engagement; and modified pedagogy of community based research.
It is expected that the work of the UNESCO Chair will contribute to:
Supportive policies: through government support and research funding
Trained professionals: researchers, scholars, students, practitioners
Enhanced partnerships: between civil society, universities, North-South-South networks
Supportive leadership: from academic councils, university administrations, vice chancellors and civil society leaders.
Over the next four years, the co-chairs intend to work to mainstream the practice of community-based research in the teaching and research functions of higher education world-wide. We want to strengthen the engagements between communities, civil society and the academia in ways that contribute to improved well-being of all our peoples, as well as the transformation of institutions of higher education themselves. And, we want to promote the discourse on social responsibility of higher education in the perspective of ‘knowledge democracy’.
The OCBR-UVic exists to facilitate collaborative community-university research and partnerships that enhance the quality of life and the economic, environmental and social well-being of communities. OCBR-UVic will create and support:
- New opportunities for collaborative research initiatives and projects on issues that arise from and matter to our communities
- Multi-sectoral partnerships between civil society, non-profit community organizations, First Nations, funding agencies, government, business and the university
- Strong evidence-based recommendations for public policies, programs and practices to meet community needs
- Innovative national and global networks to support community-based research and community-university engagement
- Seminars, colloquia, talks, workshops and courses