UNISERVITATE is the programme for the promotion of service-learning (SL) in Catholic Higher Education.

Its objective is to generate a systemic change in Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) through the institutionalization of SL as a tool to achieve its mission of offering an integral education to the new generations and involving them in an active commitment to the problems of our time.

The most recent Vatican documents on the mission and identity of the CHEIs call for the articulation of science and faith, academic excellence and community service, knowledge production and Christian witness in society, of a socially committed university.

In recent years, Pope Francis has strongly emphasized the need for the Church to "go out to the peripheries" and has called on educational institutions to offer their students the opportunity to involve "heads, hands and hearts" in addressing the challenges and problems presented by contemporary societies.

Focusing on the transformation of teaching practices in CHEIs, service-learning proposes to articulate academic activities with social commitment, thus strengthening the spiritual identity of Catholic institutions. It is fundamentally a matter of involving young people as real agents of social change in the construction of a more just and supportive society that expresses the mandate of the "civilization of love".

UNISERVITATE is a global network and as such, it seeks to establish solid and constructive links between higher education institutions rooted in very diverse social and cultural contexts, with the purpose of expanding dialogue and enriching the perspective of higher education in the acknowledgement of the multiculturalism that characterizes the contemporary scenario. Collaboration, open listening, respect for diversity and collective production constitute the bases on which the programme is built and grows day by day.

What do we propose?

  • To expand and strengthen the network of Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) at the global level in order to make a critical, original and innovative contribution to the goals of university education in the contemporary context.
  • To promote the development of service-learning (SL) projects and to contribute to its institutionalization as a pedagogical practice in CHEIs on an international scale.
  • To promote the training of human resources to encourage the design, implementation and evaluation of SL projects.
  • To research and produce knowledge about the spiritual dimension of SL in order to collaborate in the design of educational models related to the identity and mission of CHEIs considering multicultural contexts.
  • To make available to the entire university educational community - both religious and non-confessional - the academic production of the programme, the experiences implemented within its framework and a series of bibliographical resources edited by experts in the field.

Who are we?

UNISERVITATE is an initiative of Porticus and is coordinated by the Latin American Centre for Solidarity Service-Learning (CLAYSS).

Porticus coordinates and develops the philanthropic endeavours of the Brenninkmeijer family whose social commitment dates back to 1841 when Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer founded the C&A company. In 1995 Porticus was born, and has grown to become one of the most committed institutions to work with the challenges of our time and to create a sustainable future where justice and human dignity can flourish.

The Latin American Center for Solidarity Service-Learning - CLAYSS - is a leading organization for service-learning in Latin America, and a reference worldwide. It promotes the development of solidarity service-learning in both formal and non-formal education, and advises policy-makers, NGOs and community leaders, educators and students.

How is the program organized
and who are the beneficiaries?

The actions developed by the programme are aimed at multiple actors: higher education authorities, educational planning teams, teachers, students, communities. The participation of each one of them will make possible the transformation of the teaching proposals from the implementation of SL projects.

The programme's grid format will allow 200 universities and higher education institutions to be integrated over three years from the "pioneer hubs". In the first stage, 20 institutions will be added and accompanied in their process of institutionalization of SL.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Porticus CHEI
Academic Sounding Board
Spirituality and Research Team

7 Regional hubs and partner institutions

20 supported universities

Associated Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs)
• Interact with hubs and other institutions
• Get free access to UNIVERSITATE training platform
• Access to information on events and specialized bibliography about
AYSS regarding the identity and mission of the CHEIs

CHEIs in general
Access to information on events and specialized bibliography about
AYSS regarding the identity and mission of the CHEIs

Public and non-confesional Higher Education Institutions
Access to information on events and specialized bibliography
about AYSS through the open platform

What are the programme's
lines of work?

The programme is organised into three main lines or areas of work:

  • Research and reflection
    The aim is to investigate and produce knowledge about the spiritual dimension of SL in the CHEIs around the world, in order to develop meaningful models for the construction of the CHEIs' identity and mission, taking into account multicultural contexts.
  • Building a global network
    Through the creation of regional hubs and local centres, the aim is to create a system of horizontal communication - bringing together all CHEIs - which will contribute to the development and exchange of original and challenging experiences of SL and contribute to critical reflection at the global level. Within this framework, a Global Award will be promoted to recognize and make visible the best educational practices in CHEIs and to propose global quality standards for SL.
  • Training for institutionalization
    Institutionalizing SL projects in higher education requires the development of an intensive training of trainers programme, which includes management teams, coordinators and teachers. Initially, the project extends to 20 institutions that have been selected to develop their SL institutionalization processes.



Richard Brosse

Portfolio manager Catholic Higher Ed, and various regional representatives, Porticus

María Nieves Tapia
María Rosa Tapia
Luis Arocha
Ángeles Soletic
Mariano García
Andrés Peregalli
Agustina Camaño
Alejandra Batista
Laura Gherlone
Mónica Sosa Caballero



Paris, France


Minneapolis, USA

Leticia López

Monterrey, Mex


Córdoba, Arg


Madurai, India


Barcelona, Spain


South Africa

Bojana Culum

Rijeka, Croatia, HR


Arantzazu Martinez Odria


Barbara Humphrey McCrabb


Rev. Dr Sahaya G. Selvam, sdb.

Nairobi, Kenia


Rebecca Sawyer

Representative of ACCU

Nadine Jalandoni

Representative of ACCU

Montserrat Alom

Representative of IFCU

Loic Roche

Representative of IFCU

An ever-expanding
global network

UNISERVITATE is a global and networked programme that is established through a process of permanent development and the integration of new actors and institutions from a series of regional hubs strategically distributed around the world.