Service-learning Networking Gains a Foothold in Europe

CLAYSS-Uniservitate at the 6th ECSLHE: Futures of Service-Learning.

In the 6th EASLHE (European Association of Service-Learning in Higher Education), which addressed the “Futures of Service-Learning: Digital Empowerment, Transformational Literacy and Civic Engagement”, the strong ties between CLAYSS and leading European service-learning stakeholders were clear.

On September 27th and 28th, the European Association for Service-Learning in Higher Education hosted an academic event at LUMSA University in Rome. Researchers and educators from various European and other international educational institutions attended.

                    6th ECSLHE Futures of Service-Learning participants in Rome

CLAYSS was represented by Luz Abruj, its institutional network manager, and Andres Peregalli, the vice-coordinator of the Uniservitate programme. They led two activities to establish and develop national and regional service-learning networks —something CLAYSS has been working on since its beginnings, while supporting processes and forging alliances worldwide.

Avruj and Peregalli participated in a panel presentation of the paper “Service-Learning Networks for Transformation: conceptions, skills and conditions”, a joint article written with Candelaria Ferrara, coordinator of the Uniservitate regional hubs. This paper is the outcome of two research projects carried out between 2019 and 2022, along with the earlier experience of CLAYSS. It explains the importance of national service-learning networks, their impact on public policies and the necessary conceptions, conditions and skills to establish them.

Luz Avruj and Andrés Peregalli during their presentation “Service-Learning Networks for Transformation: conceptions, skills and conditions”

This collaborative work was also the core of a workshop coordinated by CLAYSS representatives together with Irene Culcasi from Università LUMSA (Italy), Alžbeta Brozmanová Gregorová from Matej Bel University (Slovakia) and Bojana Culum from the University of Rijeka (Croatia): all of them dedicated professionals with a strong commitment to networking. The workshop was entitled “Service-learning and networking to transform systems”, and its working methodology was the same used for its design and production: network collaboration and a strong interaction between the network members. It replicates the collaborative, solidarity-based and egalitarian dynamics used in its service-learning projects intended to promote.


In Luz Avruj’s opinion, “participating in these activities of the European Higher Education Network, as in other networking activities, is another way to keep strengthening relationships with peers who work along these lines, to continue exchanging knowledge while offering what we learn and learning from what others know”.

Delegations from Uniservitate hubs in Southern Europe, Northern Europe, Central Europe and the Middle East also participated in the 6th EASLHE Conference, sharing their research on the institutionalisation of service-learning in Higher Education and holding specific regional meetings to strengthen their networks and the Programme’s goals.

Andrew Furco, Uniservitate Academic Sounding Board and Andrés Peregalli, vice-coordinator of the Uniservitate programme at the 6th EASLHE Conference

Speakers at the Conference repeatedly praised CLAYSS’s overall profile: a Latin American organization present in all five continents. Indeed, the concept of the polyhedron that inspires the Uniservitate logo was mentioned again by the host, María Cinque, at the closing of the two-day conference. In this sense, Andrés Peregallí shared: “Both during the Conference and in other meetings we held during those days, we got several expressions of recognition for the contributions of CLAYSS and Uniservtate to achieve a holistic, humanistic and solidarity-based education through service-learning as a strategic, expedient and relevant pedagogy of this time”.





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