What is Uniservitate?

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

Its objective is to generate a systemic change in Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) through the institutionalization of service-learning 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 challenges of our time.

The most recent Vatican documents on the mission and identity of the CHEIs call for the connection between 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.


To expand and strengthen the network of Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) globally 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 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 service-learning projects.

To research and produce knowledge about the spiritual dimension of service-learning 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.


The actions developed by the Programme are aimed at multiple actors: higher education authorities, educational planning teams, professors, students, communities. The participation of each one of them will make possible the transformation of the teaching proposals from the implementation of service-learning 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 have already been added and accompanied in their process of institutionalization of service-learning.

Porticus CHEI
Academic Sounding Board
Spirituality and Research Team

7 Regional hubs and partner institutions

20 supported universities

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

Global CHEIs Network
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


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 and leaders programme, which includes management teams, coordinators and proffesors. Initially, the project extends to 20 institutions that have been selected to develop their SL institutionalization processes.




Portfolio Manager “Vital Catholic Thought”


María Nieves Tapia

María Rosa Tapia
General Coordinator

Andrés Peregalli
General Vice Coordinator


Francois Mabille
Paris, France

Andrew Furco
Minneapolis, USA

Leticia López Villareal
Monterrey, Mex

Daniela Gargantini photo

Daniela Gargantini
Córdoba, Arg

Mercy Pushpalatha
Madurai, India

Miquel Martínez
Barcelona, Spain

Beatrix Bouwman
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


Candelaria Ferrara
Regional Hubs Coordinator

Alejandra Batista
Training and Platforms

Mónica Sosa Caballero

Mariano García
Institutional Relations

Agustina Camaño
General Coordination Assistance