Higher Education in the World 5

Knowledge, Engagement and Higher Education: Contributing to Social Change

The report is a product of three years research, consultations, academic seminars and an international conference. The report and the associated conference Let’s Build Transformative Knowldege to Drive a Social Change has been a collective project of hundreds of women and men from more than 60 nations. In it have contributed students, administrators, foundation leaders, government officials, researchers, social movement activists, professors, networkers and more.

Higher Education in the World 5

Report Index and Authors

Dr. Bud Hall (Canada) at the University of Victoria and Dr. Rajesh Tandon (India), President of the Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) that jointly appointed The UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education have been the guest editors of this edition.

The Report is a collective work. 73 authors from 34 countries of all the world regions have contributed to this edition. The index of the report and the authors could be found here.

Objectives of the Report

The 5th GUNi World Report looks at critical dimensions in our understanding of the roles, and potential roles, of higher education institutions (HEIs) as active players in contributing to the main pressing issues and social change.

The first aim is to look at our changing understandings about who the agents of knowledge creation are and how the creation, distribution and use of knowledge are linked to our aspirations for a better world.
The second aim is to provide visibility for and critically examine one of the most significant trends in higher education over the past 10–15 years: the growth of the theory and practice of engagement as a key feature in the evolution of higher education.

The aims of Higher Education in the World 5 are to:

  1. Illustrate, describe and analyze the current concept of community university engagement and social responsibility in both levels, global and regional.
  2. Identify differences and similarities within the different world regions. Illustrating peculiarities among countries and providing a current territorial and thematic map about how HEIs are engaged with society.
  3. Illustrate how HE Institutions have linked with society. Presenting the different practices, mechanisms and structures, including the impact of engagement in teaching, learning, research and institutional activities.
  4. Identify how the social actors are involved in the engagement practices and interact with HEIs, including leadership, participation and decision making process.
  5. Propose steps for advancing the contribution of CUE to building a more just, equitable and sustainable society.
  6. Offer a tool box for higher education practitioners through examples of good practices, innovations, relevant experiences and/or projects to move forward.


  • 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