The Conference was organized by the Spanish and the European networks, and the association of service-learning in higher education. The host universities were the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), the National University of Distance Education (UNED) and Comillas Pontifical University.
The opening ceremony, which took place on Friday, September 21 at the School of Teacher Training and Education of the UAM, was attended by Rafael Garesse, Ricardo Mairal and Julio Luis Martínez, rectors of the host universities, and Manuel Álvaro, dean of Faculty of Teacher Training and Education of UAM.
This year’s Conference had several novelties. In the first place, it hosted the IX edition of the Spanish Conference and the 1st edition of the European Conference. In this way the conference and the national networks have been strengthened, and the incipient European network was promoted. In addition, for the first time two alternatives were offered in terms of participation, face-to-face and virtual, which facilitated the participation of those who could not travel. The event had a pre-Conference (September 20) and a Conference (September 21-22), which allowed more time to carry out activities.
Throughout the three days various activities were carried out, such as visits to service-learning projects, training workshops, plenary lectures with international experts (Robert Franco, from the University of Hawaii and Robert Bringle, from Indiana University -Purdue Indianapolis), Round Tables, Oral Communications, Symposiums, Posters, social and cultural activities, …
The Conference hosted 300 professors and professionals related to service-learning in higher education in Spain, other European countries and Latin America.
Background of the congress
The University Network of Learning-Service of Spain organizes an annual Conference since 2010.
In 2017, an Association was created with the aim of strengthening collaboration and the exchange of learning-service experiences, disseminating educational and social projects based on this methodology, and promoting research and institutionalization processes of this methodology in Spanish universities.
Europe Engage, the European service-learning network in Higher Education, was created in September 2017 as an international network of European professionals interested in promoting service-learning as an innovative pedagogical approach that has an impact on the development of a committed European citizenship. The network derives from the Erasmus+ project “Europe Engage. Developing a Culture of Civic Commitment through Learning-Service in Higher Education in Europe”, which brought together 12 European universities to analyze existing practices, share knowledge and develop good practices related to service-learning. In August 2017, once the project was completed, the partners decided to expand Europe Engage as a European network open to all European professionals interested in university service- learning.
This year’s Conference focuses on the role of service-learning in the construction of global citizenship.