Member Institutions

The University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) is a global alliance promoting University Social Responsibility (USR) so that social mission becomes a core mission of universities. The USRN provides an effective and unique platform for collaboration among member universities in all major areas of USR related activities, spearheading the development of USR in the world.

Currently, the USRN comprises 20 member institutions with wide geographic spread. Members are leading universities in their countries dedicated to make a positive impact for the benefits of the society and the world.


UNSW Sydney

UNSW Sydney is a leading public teaching and research university in Sydney, Australia with a long history of commitment to social responsibility. In early 2020, our motto was updated from ‘Scientia Manu et Mente’, to ‘Scientia Corde Manu et Mente’: Knowledge by Heart, Hand and Mind, a more complete embodiment of our vision to improve lives throughout the world.

UNSW’s belief that it has a role to play in positively impacting society started early. As the first Australian university to participate in the Colombo Plan in the 1950s, UNSW welcomed many Southeast Asian students, beginning a long tradition of a vibrant mix of cultures on its campuses.

Many initiatives followed, such as the highly respected Kingsford Legal Centre, which has provided free legal advice to tens of thousands of clients, many vulnerable and disadvantaged, over more than 40 years.

The Medicine & Health and Law and Justice Faculties have worked to help build the national Indigenous medical and legal workforces and today, UNSW offers Indigenous Pre-programs that provide an alternative entry pathway to UNSW.

This commitment to addressing societal challenges was formalised and strengthened with the launch in 2015 of the UNSW 2025 Strategy. The Strategy set UNSW on a path to deliver not only academic excellence, but a major program built on equity, diversity, and inclusion. A division was established in 2017 to manage EDI at UNSW, the first at any Australian university. Led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity Diversity & Inclusion, it has been working to integrate social responsibility into every aspect of the institution: leadership, teaching, research, services and community activities.

Since the launch of the Strategy, University leadership and the Division have led or collaborated with other areas of the University in important areas of social responsibility, including:

  • The appointment of a Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, and the development of an Indigenous Strategy for the University to address inequities and to prepare Indigenous leaders for the future;
  • A broad range of gender equity initiatives;
  • A focus on social engagement as a key requirement for all academic promotions;
  • A program of education, support, awareness, and the development of a reporting portal for people experiencing sexual misconduct, as well as a process for managing related complaints;
  • The appointment of Diversity Champions to work with the UNSW community to invigorate, communicate and embed EDI throughout the University;
  • University-wide work on integrating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through raising awareness and providing such tools as the UNSW SDG Toolkit;
  • Establishment of the Institute for Global Development, which seeks to advance knowledge on sustainable development and social justice to tackle complex and disruptive global challenges;
  • In November 2020, UNSW realised its long-held vision to achieve net zero emissions from energy use and switched to 100% renewable energy. This landmark will see the University save 1.25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 15 years;
  • The development of a body of policies and procedures to address issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. Access & Equity programs that ensure that students who are underrepresented in higher education have the opportunity to access the benefits that flow from a university education

These are just some of NSW’s extensive programs and initiatives that ensure its staff and students have the best possible employment and educational experiences, and appreciate their obligation to improve economic, social, and environmental outcomes.

University Website:


University of São Paulo

The University of São Paulo (USP) is the largest institution dedicated to higher education and research in Brazil.
Founded in 1934, USP is a public university, with approximately 90,000 students, 13,000 administrative and support staff, 5,300 professors and 8 campuses located in the State of São Paulo.

USP offers undergraduate courses in all fields of knowledge and graduate programs in the Exact, Human and Biological Sciences.

USP has Institutes and Schools in all fields of knowledge, hospitals, physical and digital libraries and centers and institutes specialized in advanced research, which complete the scientific development promoted by the University.

USP`s museums are open for public visitation and offer artistic, historical and scientific exhibits. USP has many events and locations specially designed to accommodate its cultural and sport activities

Besides the main campus and some additional schools spread over the city of São Paulo, other campuses are located in 7 cities of the State of São Paulo. Given the various fields of interest covered, it is possible for a student to choose in which campus to study or research.

The university has an active role in disseminating science, culture and quality health care for citizens across the country. Strongly integrated with the local community, USP runs several hospitals, museums and public services that benefit the population. These range from scientific and cultural activities to innovative health care and therapy.

USP International Cooperation Office develops and implements policies that promote the internationalization of the institution. USP International Cooperation Office seeks to: Establish cooperation strategies between USP and its international partners; Foster international academic cooperation; Select, organize and disseminate information about programs and initiatives concerned with academic cooperation.

University Website:


Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University is Canada’s engaged university, defined by our dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement.

We are unconventional, fearless, compassionate, approachable and ready.

We celebrate the diversity of people, ideas and cultures.

Communities make us a better university.

Community engagement is a vital part of our culture, informing our institutional commitments, inspiring more inclusive methods and practices for teaching and research, and helping us reflect on our history so that we might work to ensure that knowledge will benefit everyone.

We work to advance democracy.

We use our capacity as a university to bring greater visibility, knowledge and action to the issues we face in our communities, and we partner to open up the constructive dialogue, debate and dissensus necessary to collectively advance democracy.

We have a responsibility to be a part of our communities.

As a publicly funded post-secondary institution, we have a responsibility to use our capacity to strengthen social infrastructure and stand with our communities in their efforts to address issues of social justice.

We are committed to Truth and Reconciliation.

SFU works to build avenues for answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s X calls to action for post-secondary education, and commits to implementing the recommendations laid out in the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s 2017 report, Walk This Path With Us. We prepare our staff to meet and honour the emerging historical truth of the Indigenous peoples on whose lands our campuses reside.

We believe principled partnerships for learning, research and action are critical tools in creating a just and inclusive society.

Community engagement respects the knowledge, strategies and actions of communities to ensure that knowledge is created in partnership with, and is directly relevant to the people and communities participating in the work and being impacted by it.

Great relationships support community-driven solutions.

We co-create teaching, learning and research with community partners, students, educators and researchers. Our impact with communities is grounded in real world settings, where greater visibility, discourse, empathy and collaboration lead to meaningful outcomes.

We embrace knowledge democracy.

We respect and honour multiple ways of knowing, and we build mechanisms for scholarship, traditional knowledge, and lived and cultural experience to co-exist and influence each other in shared purpose.

Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion must be foundational for post-secondary institutions.

We strive to dismantle systemic institutional barriers to ensure SFU is filled with spaces where marginalized voices are centred and people from different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives can convene, collaborate, learn and thrive.

Leaders in engagement, locally and globally.

We have a passion for co-creating and sustaining positive impact with our partners, locally and globally, and our campuses are launch pads for collaborative social, scientific, and economic innovation.

University Website:


Beijing Normal University

Beijing Normal University (BNU) grew out of the Education Department of Imperial University of Peking established in 1902, which initiated teacher training in China’s higher education. After the development for over a century, BNU has become a comprehensive and research-intensive university with its main characteristics of basic disciplines in sciences and humanities, teacher education and educational science.

Beijing Normal University has always been actively practicing the university social responsibility, and is constantly committed to creatively exploring new models for practicing university social responsibility through volunteer service, teaching process, research and other ways, for example:

  1. BNU established Baige Youth Volunteers Association in 1994. It is made up of students, managed by students and serves for students. It builds up a platform for students to practice USR and provides high-quality volunteer service for the society. By the beginning of 2021, 1,081 student volunteers have been active in various social welfare fields through the Association platform. It has not only become a student association with high visibility and influence in China, but also become a second classroom for our university to strengthen students' sense of social responsibility, enhance their practical ability, and cultivate top-notch innovative talents.
  2. BNU developed a summer workshop for global responsibility in the summer of 2021, co-instructed by a group of renowned professors from universities and senior officers from international institutions. The main purpose of this workshop is to cultivate students' diversified abilities so as to promote their understanding and to enable their capacity in global service in the post-pandemic era, aiming to nurture a generation with global competitiveness.
  3. BNU designed and launched the “China International Humanitarian and Sustainable Innovator Program” with the help of the UNDP office in China, UNOCHA, UNU, WHO, ICVA, ODI and other domestic and foreign partners. It aims to lay a foundation for knowledge and talents in the relevant fields of humane assistance and sustainable development in China, and to prepare for the long-term organic development of related fields.

The 2021 Course Playback

In facing the challenges and opportunities in the Post-COVID-19 world, Beijing Normal University has devoted itself in combating COVID-19 pandemic to make valuable contributions at a broad scale. 

  1. BNU teamed up with UNESCO IITE and UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education to publish the “Handbook on Facilitating Flexible Learning During Educational Disruption: The Chinese Experience in Maintaining Undisrupted Learning in COVID-19 Outbreak.” More than 11,000 schools from 180 countries have shared this handbook.
  2. BNU established the Beijing Platform for Assessing and Warning the Risk of Transmission of COVID-19. The output of this platform has been adopted by the World Health Organization and continues to aid research and decision-making processes.
  3. By recognizing the importance of caring for one’s mental health during the pandemic, BNU set up the Mental Assistant Hotline and online counseling service to help those suffering from anxiety or panic. More than 14 million people have been benefited from the services.
University Website:

Peking University

Sichuan University

Sichuan University advocates fostering students’ global vision, intercultural communication skills and social responsibility awareness. In collaboration with the Disaster Management College and Public Health College, Sichuan University has been making great efforts in connecting students with community needs, cultivating community based service learning projects and developing students’ leadership skills. Sichuan University will continue to explore opportunities of different types of service learning projects to strengthen universities’ and students’ social responsibility.


Intercultural Communication and Global Social Responsibility examine the concepts associated with culture and communication and how this relates to global leadership within local communities. The course will use case studies and problem based learning to analyze intercultural communication situations, and integrate conceptual understanding with “real life” intercultural experiences and observations in leadership. Sichuan University used to host summer schools for the course. Hopefully the summer schools will resume when the situation of pandemic approves.


This is a course that combines workshop and on-site service experience. It provides foundational principles for understanding how to communicate and interact across cultures in promoting sanitation and health, especially for rural children and families.

University Website:

Hong Kong SAR

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University [Network Chair]

With over 80 years of proud tradition and ranking among the world’s top 100 institutions, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) aspires to be a leading university with world-class research and education. It not only nurtures the much needed talents and professionals for the society, but also excels in research and innovation, and provides an expanding range of consultancy, professional training and services by turning innovative ideas into practical use, bringing benefits to mankind.

When the new four-year curriculum was implemented in Hong Kong in 2012, in alignment with PolyU’s goal of developing graduates into “responsible global citizens”, the University introduced the Service-Learning (SL) requirement into the undergraduate degree curriculum, with the aim of instilling a sense of Social Responsibility (SR) among its student. PolyU was the first local university to make SL courses credit-bearing and mandatory for all undergraduate degree students. “Service-learning” connects professional education with societal needs, providing students with exposure to complex social issues and the opportunity to make use of their knowledge to improve the quality of life of the less fortunate. To promote and support the institutionalization of SL at PolyU, the Office of Service-Learning (now renamed as the Service-Learning and Leadership Office) was established in 2012, supporting growth in the scope of SL activity.

Sustainable campus is also a focus in PolyU’s SR efforts. Environmentally-conscious practices are widely adopted to build a green campus, including but not limited to resource conservation. Green procurement, for example, is the guiding principle in the purchase of goods and services.

Further to the set up of the University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) in 2015, PolyU as the secretariat for the Network has been actively involving to facilitate the achievement of the Network’s vision and mission. PolyU is committed to advancing USR, not only within its own campus but also in the global higher education sector, collaborating with the Network members to address the economic, social, cultural and environmental challenges so as to make our world more just, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable.

University Website:


University of Iceland

The University of Iceland was founded in 1911 and has since served as the foundation for guiding the Icelandic nation to a knowledge society and to prosperity.

The University of Iceland, located in the heart of Reykjavik, is the country's oldest and largest university. The University of Iceland currently has approximately 16,000 students enrolled, including over 1,500 international students. The University of Iceland is composed of five schools and 26 faculties, and it offers over 400 different study programs at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels in all major academic disciplines. The University of Iceland collaborates with major stakeholders of society, promotes Icelandic culture and history, prioritizes sustainability and diversity, and places a strong emphasis on international collaboration in education and research.

The University, in addition to focusing on high-quality teaching and research, plays an important role in democratic and informed public debate on societal issues. Furthermore, it provides the vision, knowledge creation, and interdisciplinary collaboration required to address the pressing societal challenges that Iceland and the rest of the world face.

The University of Iceland recently adopted a new strategy for the years 2021-2026, with sustainability and diversity as key objectives. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals serve as the strategy's foundation. The University of Iceland has been ranked on the THE Impact Rankings, which compare university indicators to the SDGs, since its inception three years ago.

The University of Iceland is a founding member of the Aurora network as well as the Aurora European University Alliance. Aurora is a network of European research-intensive universities with high research impact who share a commitment to social relevance, a diverse student population, and community engagement. One of Aurora's key themes is the societal impact and relevance of research. Aurora is one of 41 pilot initiatives funded by the European Commission that bring together European universities to collaborate across borders and disciplines to address societal challenges. The Rector of the University of Iceland, Jon Atli Benediktsson, is also the President of Aurora.

The University of Iceland is dedicated to social responsibility, as evidenced by the goals of our new strategy and our participation in Aurora.

University Website:


University of Haifa

Over 18,000 students from a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds are enrolled at the University of Haifa, the largest research university in northern Israel, and the most pluralistic institution of higher education in the country. Founded in 1963, the University of Haifa received full accreditation in 1972 and, since then, has created and developed a world-class institution dedicated to academic and research excellence. Situated on the crest of the Carmel Mountains with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, and nestled beside the Carmel National Forest, the University of Haifa provides an ideal setting.

Through an accelerated growth strategy, the University has established Israel’s first “Multiversity” – a multi-campus institution that promotes extensive interdisciplinary studies and partnerships. The Multiversity is designed to improve access to higher education in northern Israel, better prepare students for a dynamic job market and serve as a catalyst for economic expansion and strengthening Israel’s northern region.

As a thriving academic center, the University comprises six faculties, 59 departments, ten schools and 57 research centers and institutes. The University has gained an international reputation in a variety of fields, including public health, security studies, holocaust research, cancer research, neurosciences, bioinformatics, marine sciences, education, and epigenetics. The University also offers 18 international graduate programs taught in English and a Study Abroad program. For over forty years, the University of Haifa International School has attracted thousands of students from all over the world adding their unique piece to the mosaic of higher education atop the mountain, in the city, by the Sea. Today close to 1,000 students from over 40 different countries around the world enroll annually in the International School’s various interdisciplinary and international programs where they learn and explore in an atmosphere of coexistence, tolerance, and mutual respect.

The University’s distinctive mission is to foster academic excellence in an atmosphere of tolerance and multiculturalism. An exciting and inspiring cultural mosaic, the University of Haifa is a microcosm of Israeli society. The faculty and student population are unique in composition. Jews, Arabs, Druze, Haredi and secular students, new immigrants and military and security personnel come together to study, teach, and learn. The University of Haifa offers an opportunity for students to study in a diverse environment with students coming from over 50 countries, work with them through research, internship and volunteer opportunities and live alongside at the university dormitories.

Driven by unusual crossings between fields of research and social responsibility the University of Haifa is creating a new learning environment, a stronger community, and a better Israeli society.

University Website:


Kyoto University

Founded in 1897, Kyoto University is the second oldest national university in Japan. It is a comprehensive and research-oriented university with 10 undergraduate faculties, 18 graduate schools and 13 research institutes, 22 centers and other organizations. As to May 2021, Kyoto University has 13,038 undergraduate students and 9,530 graduate students enrolled in different programs, while nearly 4,000 professors and researchers are actively engaged in the academic work of the University.

Kyoto is an ancient city with a rich cultural patrimony accumulated over a thousand years, where Eastern and Western traditions and schools of thoughts meet and interact. In such environment, our university thrives as an international academic hub that promotes academic cooperation and nurtures innovation.

Currently, multiple complex issues threaten the health and lives of all people on earth. Such issues include the unexpectedly rapid worsening of climate change, large-scale natural disasters, and environmental degradation, as well as the escalation of international conflicts, widening disparity, and the international spread of infectious diseases, such as the novel coronavirus. We must now reaffirm our commitment to Kyoto University's mission — we must earnestly and determinedly seek solutions to the multifaceted and complex issues being faced globally, and consistently share our progress with society.

Kyoto University has a tradition of engaging closely with society. Social contributions are offered through interdisciplinary and engaged research integrating humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, medical and life sciences to promote innovation and bring actual solutions to social demands.

Four broad missions guide the work of Kyoto University covering

  1. world-level research
  2. innovative education
  3. strong relation with society; and
  4. proactive management.

In the field of research, our historical commitment to academic freedom and autonomy, together with a strong pursuance of high ethical standards greatly contribute to the University’s outstanding research output in creating globally distinguished intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom.

Kyoto University as a university open to the world, contributes to deepening international exchange and realization of harmonious coexistence in the global society in various ways ranging from engaging students in research and education; capacity building in higher education through the promotion of internationalization by nurturing its institutional global network. It includes 3 regional centers in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and strong collaboration with several institutions in Africa. There are also 11 On-site laboratories established to support international collaborations and 59 department level offices and facilities at the service of education and research.

In order to further advance the principles of University Social Responsibility, Kyoto University is an active member of the USR Network, an international alliance of universities pursuing the goal of making a difference through social engagement in higher education.

Kyoto University - Global University Social Responsibility:

University website:


Al-Farabi Kazakh National University


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

VU was established in 1880 as a "vrije universiteit", a free university. The name of the new university clearly indicated that the founders were of the opinion that at least some other universities were unfree, and it is no secret that the Dutch state universities of the time were those that they had in mind.

The newly founded and obviously private university not just defied interference by the state but also by the church. VU operated on donations and crowdfunding in the beginning but today receives regular public funding.

The “free” however is still very much with VU today. It is the freedom to be what you are and to become what you want to be. Responsibility is intimately and inseparably connected to this freedom. Acting in freedom entails bearing responsibility for these actions. This responsibility can be towards individuals but also to society at large. VU always has these interests in mind and feels the obligation to use everything available in terms of methods, approaches and disciplines to change the world for the better.

A second key VU value is openness. Sharing knowledge increases its value and allows for a joint approach to addressing the global challenges of our time. The third key VU value is personal. VU cherishes individual differences, being at the basis of progress if treated respectfully and as a source of inspiration and new ways of looking at the world.

In today's world VU’s constituting value set is manifest in different but related activities such as a strong orientation towards the SDG's, multi- and transdisciplinary approaches to challenges, community engagement and service, innovation through co-creation and start-ups, equipping students with skills to realize impact, embracing and learning from other perspectives. And all of this with a relentless drive for excellence.

VU is a comprehensive university employing over 4,500 members of staff and having 30,000 students enrolled. The university is very well connected internationally and is known for the high quality of its research and -no surprise- for its high level of societal engagement. VU is housed on a city campus in Amsterdam’s business district, also featuring a nearby student campus.

VU distinguishes itself in research and teaching through four major themes reflecting its
strong level of involvement in current societal issues.

  • Governance for Society: Philosophers, economists, lawyers and psychologists join forces under this heading. The central question is to the effectiveness of our ways of governing society, and more specifically of our global surroundings. How can the way we manage and organize these contribute to a better society?
  • Human Health and Life Sciences: How do we become and how do we stay healthy? Contributors come from many disciplines: from physicists to doctors and from biologists to ethicists and human movement scientists
  • Connected World: A unique multidisciplinary association of VU researchers examines what it means to live in a world in which everything and everyone are connected. A question that affects us all and has far-reaching consequences for people
  • Science for Sustainability: VU integrates all disciplines that can help safeguard the well-being of the earth. From biology to economics and from social to natural sciences. A cross-pollination that seeks answers to the greatest questions of our time.

University Website: 


Ateneo de Manila University

Ateneo de Manila University is a Filipino, Catholic, and Jesuit higher education and research institution founded in 1859. In general, the Ateneo as a University seeks to preserve, extend, and communicate truth and apply it to human development and the preservation of the environment. Specifically, as a Filipino University, it aims to enrich Philippine culture and contribute to the country’s development. Further, as a Catholic University, it is devoted to justice-based service, especially to those who are marginalized. And lastly, as a Jesuit University, it forms students to see God in all things and to strive for the greater glory of God and the greater service of humankind. The main organizations through which Ateneo de Manila fulfill its social responsibility are as follows:

Office of the Vice President for Social Development (OVPSD)

The Office is tasked to lead in strengthening, aligning and consolidating existing and future efforts of students, faculty and other members of the Ateneo community in responding to social, political, environmental, and overall national and local development concerns.

Office for Social Concern and Involvement (OSCI)

OSCI is responsible for the social formation of undergraduate students. Through its formation programs, OSCI raises awareness of the reality of poverty and fosters solidarity action and advocacy work; utilizes Service-Learning as a pedagogical strategy across various academic disciplines; and serves as the principal link of the Loyola Schools to marginalized communities.

Disaster Response and Management (DReaM) Team

This is the main engine for the University’s disaster relief and rehabilitation work. The DReaM Team responds to disasters and emergencies by coordinating local efforts in sourcing cash and kind donations and in the delivery of relief goods to affected communities.

Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED)

ACED spearheads the University’s mission to close the poverty gap and improve quality of life among the poor through improving public basic education in scale. The center conducts professional development programs for educators, develops instructional materials, and initiates programs (feeding programs, pre-employment programs, etc.) that would increase the chances of children from disadvantaged circumstances to have a better future.

Pathways to Higher Education

This is the University’s social involvement program that identifies talented but financially underprivileged public high school students and equips them with the necessary academic and soft skills to nurture them to become Filipino leaders who will serve their country and transform the nation.

Gawad Kalinga-Ateneo (GK-Ateneo) Coordinating Office

The office is built on the shared vision and commitment of Ateneo and Gawad Kalinga to build a poverty-free Philippines. The University participates in the implementation and development of community building interventions of Gawad Kalinga. The office plays a lead role in designing and piloting innovative programs and models for poverty eradication such as those addressing hunger, malnutrition, and youth agri-entrepreneurship. It also contributes to the capacity building programs of Gawad Kalinga. Various units and members of the university community are matched to appropriate opportunities for service learning, volunteerism, and resource generation.

Ateneo Institute of Sustainability (AIS)

The AIS serves as the University’s hub for its environment-development agenda towards mainstreaming sustainable development, reducing climate and disaster risk, and building a sustainable campus. Our work includes engaging in research and scholarship, implementing capacity-building and education initiatives, and building collaborations and networks across stakeholder groups.

University Website:

South Africa

Rhodes University

Rhodes University is one of the smallest universities in South Africa and is located in the poor semi-rural area of Makhanda (previously Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The motto of the University is ‘Where Leaders Learn’. It is about educating students as knowledgeable intellectuals and skilled professionals; nurturing them to be critical, caring, and compassionate citizens who actually see themselves as part of a wider community. The city of Makhanda is a microcosm of South African cities where there is a clear racial divide and between privilege and exclusion as part of the apartheid legacy. It is a reflection of South Africa’s problems and to varying degrees, the rest of the world where poverty, inequality and unemployment persists and have done so for a long time. Dr Sizwe Mabizela, the current Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University repositioned the University in his inaugural speech when he said “we are not only geographically located in this city, we are of and for this city.” He stated that the re-imagining of Rhodes University rests on four pillars (described below), which underpins its social responsibility to the community of Makhanda, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa and the world:

  • Sustainability principle: should permeate every aspect of the academic endeavour and every decision taken by the university. In the process, we need to produce graduates with an elevated sense of awareness of and responsibility for building sustainable communities.
  • Simultaneous local responsiveness and global engagement: the academic endeavour should seek to respond to the pressing and urgent local challenges while simultaneously contributing to our accumulated global stock of knowledge.
  • Advancing social justice: given the painful past of South Africa which was characterized by exclusion and denial of opportunities for a significant segment of our society, it is vitally important that we do all we can to restore the dignity and humanity of those who were mistreated by the previous dispensation.
  • Advancing the public good purpose of higher education: Rhodes University does not exist in a vacuum but within a social, cultural and economic milieu and has an important role to play in lifting the quality of life of local communities.

Rhodes University has developed a number of multi-disciplinary models based on the integrated nexus of teaching, research and community engagement, which contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of Makhanda. Reciprocity, mutuality, participation and sustainability are key principles that guide Rhodes University in its engagement with all community partners. In keeping with the key principles, we have worked hard to create meaningful leadership opportunities for students in teaching and learning, community engagement. More than half of the student body is engaged in the broader community and have embedded themselves in a social context that provides them with a better understanding of society and all its complexity. The institution has a deep commitment to democracy and social justice and believes that Community Engagement can play a critical role in the transformation of the institution and society.

Rhodes University’s community engagement:

University Website:

University of Pretoria

Student community engagement programmes constitute a key element of the University of Pretoria’s university social responsibility (USR) endeavours. Indeed, at any one point, more than 50% of the approximately 53 000 students enrolled at the University of Pretoria are involved in at least one community engagement initiative. By the time students complete their first qualification at the University of Pretoria, all of them would have had some exposure to USR through their participation in The University’s extensive curricular and co-curricular community engagement programme.

One of the premises on which the University of Pretoria’s community engagement programme is based is that the education that is afforded our students gives them access to the skills, attributes and substantive freedoms (cf. Amartya Sen, 1999) that enable them not only to fulfil their career aspirations and to lead more actualised lives but also to contribute to the life chances of others in our world who do not yet have the opportunities that they have (Amartya Sen, 1999).

Another premise on which the community engagement and development programme is based is that our students’ collaboration with communities surrounding and beyond the university’s campuses offers them essential knowledge and skills that they would not otherwise acquire. For this reason, the university’s community engagement programme is core to its teaching and learning programmes as well as its research.

In essence, we have learned that for community engagement and development projects to be successful, they must be conceptualised and operationalised as mutually beneficial for the university and collaborating communities.

Communities should not simply be the sites where students have an opportunity to acquire additional local knowledge and sharpen their skills. Rather, they should also be seen as sites where students can develop and improve their problem-solving and societal innovation skills in the service of communities, and specifically in the service of efforts to address various socio-economic challenges confronting many local communities.

The University of Pretoria is committed to social and economic development that sustains and will not have a harmful impact on the environment. For this reason, the university has initiated a range of alternative (green) energy, smart building technology, and water and waste recycling endeavours. The university is constantly aware that our actions today will have a ripple effect and impact our future.

The University of Pretoria is proud to be the first African university to be invited to join the global University Social Responsiveness Network (USRN), an association that is committed to strengthening the social and environmental obligations of higher education.

University Website:

South Korea

Yonsei University

The history of Yonsei University began in 1885 with Korea’s first modern hospital Chejungwon which was established by medical missionary Horace N. Allen. Around that time, missionary Horace G. Underwood visited Korea and assisted in medical treatment at Chejungwon while starting his work in education and missionary activities. The work of these two missionaries in Chejungwon has become the foundation of Yonsei. Committed to our founders’ core principles of Truth and Freedom, Yonsei has deeply engaged in the needs of our society.

Yonsei University aims to ultimately contribute to the peace and development of humankind. On a smaller scale, it will provide a platform for solidarity and innovation where the many youths who come to Yonsei University can pursue dreams and build their future. Yonsei will bring light to the world by fostering in-depth academic research, inspirational education, and the spirit of community service.

For galvanizing its vision, the Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment (IGEE) was launched in 2017 at Yonsei University in Seoul, Republic of Korea to contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by integrating various missionary and volunteer activities within the University, directing intellectual and human resources to address social issues, and educating the next generation of global citizens.

Within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, the collaborative engagement of IGEE will offer a new dimension of social service to achieve the SDGs and university social responsibility in Korea and overseas as a member of University Social Responsibility Network (USRN).

Especially, the Ban Ki-moon Center for International Cooperation will focus on exploring effective and lasting solutions to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030 and play a major role in training global citizens through comprehensive engagement & empowerment.

Read more about the IGEE:

University Website:

United Kingdom

Clare Hall, University of Cambridge

Clare Hall is a graduate college renowned for its informal approach to college life and for its international diversity. The President, Fellows, Visiting Fellows and graduate students together make up an integrated academic society that is not constrained by hierarchy and is consequently a culturally rich and intellectually diverse environment for advanced study.

University Website:

The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is a truly global institution, with a reputation for education and innovation that resonates across the world.

We are unique in British higher education in having social responsibility as one of our three core strategic goals in Our future: The University of Manchester’s vision and strategic plan, sitting equally alongside our commitments to research and discovery and teaching and learning.

Social responsibility describes the way we’re making a difference to the social and economic wellbeing of our communities through our teaching, research, and public events and activities.

Our social responsibility activities capture our unique Manchester spirit, motivating communities to research, teach and share their ideas and students to study with us.

Watch our short film: What is social responsibility at the University of Manchester

The quality and scale of our impact against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings in 2021. We want our knowledge and expertise to contribute to sustainable development and social justice for everyone.

The 17 SDGs are the world’s call to action on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity and the natural world, and we’re playing a leading role in tackling them. As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s only university to have social responsibility as a core goal, The University of Manchester is playing a leading role in tackling the SDGs in four ways – through our research, learning and students, public engagement activities and responsible campus operations.

International businesses, charities, governments and universities turn to Manchester for our expertise. Whether it’s leading the European renaissance in biotechnology or helping to train midwives in developing countries, we provide the spark for positive change.

Our research engages with the world’s biggest questions – that’s why we bring together the best people in these fields to help us to find the answers. We’ve a history of attracting world-leading minds to work with us, from Niels Bohr and Arthur Lewis to our latest Nobel laureates Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, whose pioneering work with the one-atom thick wonder material graphene has established Manchester not just as the centre of research into its application.

More international students study with us than at any other UK university, with 160 nationalities coming together on campus, making us one of the world's most international universities.

Our graduates are highly sought after by top graduate employers all over the world, able to offer work-ready knowledge and experience as well as a high quality academic qualification, thanks to skills development built into our degree programmes. Further personal and professional development opportunities are offered to all students through Stellify, our premier programme for engaging students in our commitment to social responsibility.

We’re at the heart of Manchester, a world-class city that shares our pioneering, boundless spirit – indeed, Manchester was the 2016 European City of Science, and hosted the EuroScience Open Forum in the summer of that year.

Manchester’s industrial and cultural heritage is mirrored by the achievements of some of the University’s most celebrated names: Rutherford, Turing and Burgess to name but a few. Today, we’re among the world's most innovative universities, and we're making one of the largest investments in facilities ever seen at a UK university, with £750 million spent so far and a further £1 billion to follow by 2022.


Tufts University

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis’ mission is to discover and disseminate knowledge, and protect the freedom of inquiry through research, teaching and learning.

Washington University creates an environment to encourage and support an ethos of wide-ranging exploration. Washington University’s faculty and staff strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of the greater St. Louis community, the country and the world.


  • to welcome students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds to create an inclusive community that is welcoming, nurturing and intellectually rigorous
  • to foster excellence in our teaching, research, scholarship and service
  • to prepare students with attitudes, skills and habits of lifelong learning and leadership, thereby enabling them to be productive members of a global society
  • to be an institution that excels by its accomplishments in our home community, St. Louis, as well as in the nation and the world


  • to judge ourselves by the most exacting standards
  • to attract people of great ability from diverse backgrounds
  • to encourage faculty and students to be bold, independent, and creative thinkers
  • to provide an exemplary, respectful and responsive environment for living, teaching, learning and working for present and future generations
  • to focus on meaningful measurable results for all of our endeavors

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