Video recording and presentations - Webinar book launch “Socially Responsible Higher Education: International Perspectives on Knowledge Democracy”


The Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), together with the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, hosted the webinar - book launch "Socially Responsible Higher Education: International Perspectives on Knowledge Democracy” on October 6th, 2021. The video with the recording and presentations are now available on this website.

The book, edited by UNESCO Co-Chairs in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility, Budd Hall and Rajesh Tandon, is structured in 4 parts and 22 chapters that provide a world of good practices, creative initiatives and reflections encompassing aspects such as engaged teaching, learning, decolonised curricula and partnerships. Most importantly, the book, through its chapters and examples, constitutes an inspiring narrative of social responsibility and knowledge democracy in the 21st century, allowing us to envision another model of university, which is  more democratic, inclusive and sustainable. 

Although universities have been since their inception eminently social institutions, in recent years, the emphasis on university social responsibility has been renewed. Universities find themselves balancing global and local demands, trying to address pressing societal issues at local and global levels while striving to be competitive in the global arena. Recent developments such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are demanding from universities to have an active societal role and impact. However, despite the fact that it is widely agreed that universities have a key role to play in addressing challenges and contributing to the wellbeing of society, they cannot do it alone. On the contrary, universities need to engage the local/regional/global communities with which they operate and collaborate to co-construct, build and disseminate knowledge in a democratic fashion, establishing horizontal and sustainable partnerships and fostering an ecosystem of knowledge where access, inclusion and sustainability are the core values. 

During the webinar, we had the chance to explore these questions and learn about Higher Education experiences from South Africa, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine and reflected on the concept of knowledge democracy with Prof. Rajesh Tandon and Prof. Budd Hall. The experiences and viewpoints of guest speakers provided a valuable insight into the world of knowledge democracy and university social responsibility that is not often present in mainstream media or literature. The latter constitutes an unique opportunity for students, academics, practitioners and the wider community to be inspired and imagine a socially engaged and responsible university for the 21st century.

For those of you who wish to revisit the event or some parts of it, or who wish to share it with other colleagues, please find here the link to the video recording.

The speakers have kindly shared with us their presentation slides, which you can find attached here. The book  “Socially Responsible Higher Education: International Perspectives on Knowledge Democracy” is also available here.


  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry of Business and Employment. Department of Research and Universities
  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry for Foreign Action and Open Government