- The idea of creating a vehicle for multicultural dialog on community issues was born at the First International Conference on Community Psychology in Puerto Rico in June 2006 during a symposium facilitated by Marek Wosinski (USA), Geoff Nelson (Canada), Adrian Fisher (Australia) and Gil Line (USA)
- Participants of the conference very strongly accentuated the fact that such basic concepts as social justice, prevention, intervention, empowerment, sense of community, etc. may have different meanings depending on a cultural context. They agreed that to ensure international collaboration on social issues a platform was needed where researchers, students and community organizations worldwide could exchange ideas, visions and experiences to unify the language we use when talking about community.
- With the support of Department of Psdychology at the Arizona State University (USA) and Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities (Poland), Dr. Marek Wosinski along with a team of students began to construct the first version of the website. The project was introduced to the Sixth European Conference on Community Psychology in Opole (Poland) where most of the participants agreed that educating future community leaders well, meant introducing a global perspective on community issues. It was imperative that students preparing for a leadership role be informed and understand the events happening on the global level affecting local communities and that their local community had some influence on global affairs. After this conference the following colleagues agreed to further collaborate on the development of the project:
- Joanna Ochocka from the Centre for Community Based Research in Canada (who also agreed to coordinate a participatory research project evaluating the development and impact of UCP-SARnet)
- Asyia Siddiquee from Research Institute for Health and Social Change at the Manchester Metropolitan University (England)
- Liz Cunningham from Health and Social Policy Research Center at the University of Brighton (England)
- Caterina Arcidiacono from Department of Relational Sciences "G. Iacono" Universita Federico II Napoli (Italy)
- Anna Bokszczanin from University of Opole (Poland)
- Katarzyna Winkowska-Nowak from Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities (Poland)
Since then during regular monthly meetings online the group has been consulting on the progress of the development of the network. The Leadership Team located at Arizona State University has been implementing subsequent directives and with the support from ASU Psychology Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Informational Technology Office has developed the UCP-SARnet web application. Numerous people assisted us in this process through advice and support (please see Acknowledgments).
- In July UCP-SARnet started collaboration with Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Since then UCP-SARnet has been working on creating knowledge partnerships with other global networks, developing a strong international Advisory Board and filling the platform with new content.
- UCP-SARnet was officially launched on April 18, 2008 during a conference organized by the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) and hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovations (CIGI) in Waterloo, Canada. Shortly after the official launch, UCP-SARnet's leadership team began creating groups of Regional Coordinators around the world and inviting presenters to two of the above mentioned conferences to publish their presentations on its portal. As a result, the structure of navigation was reorganized to create two possible search options for the content of the site: by country and by topic.
- In May, 2008 UCP-SARnet was presented to the participants of the CU Expo in Victoria (Canada) where it became a member of the Global Alliance for Community Engaged Research. In June, 2008 UCP-SARnet was presented to the participants of the II European Conference on Community Psychology.
- In November, 2008 Global Governance Innovations Network (one of the communities created by CIGI to promote innovative solutions to global challenges) organized a symposium with participant representations of networks from Africa, Australia, Europe and North America to discuss effective ways of global networking. From this date until the summer of 2009, UCP-SARnet was a member of this network. Unfortunately, due to organizational changes at CIGI, the IGLOO network discontinued its activities.
- The work on Gandhi College of Social work in India was initiated and continues to progress - in Spring 2011 there will be an inauguration of the Learning Center created in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU.)
- The UN Foundation agreed to collaborate with UCP-SARnet and promised to provide contacts and materials for our other projects. For the year 2012, UN Foundation may consider supporting us further through funding and staff.
- World for World Organization agreed on a partnership with UCP-SARnet. The work on agreements about collaboration with IGNOU (India), Amity University (India) and International Sakharov Environmental University (Belarus) is still in progress. Six other organizations also joined the network as organizational members: ACT India, Global Thinking Women (USA), LUKMEF (Cameroon), BEAM India , Ann Foundation and UCP-SARnet The Gambia - the first UCP-SARnet national team registered officially as a non-profit organization.
- As a result of negotiations with Dr. Kiran Bedi, India's first and highest ranking (retired in 2007) woman police officer, two organizations founded by her (Navjyoti India Foundation and India Vision Foundation) joined our network as organizational members. Dr. Bedi's experience and expertise includes more than 35 years of tough and innovative policing committed to the welfare of various communities. She has worked with the United Nations as Police Advisor to the Secretary General in the Department of Peace Keeping Operations. She has also represented India at the United Nations and in international forums on crime prevention, drug abuse, police and prison reforms, as well as women's issues.
- In collaboration with the UN Millennium Campaign, UCP-SARnet organized in September STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY events in China, India, Gambia and at ASU. In China, 11,000 students made the pledge to work toward this particular Millennium Development Goal. Next year we plan to organize such the same event in all countries where we have established members and promote the event through all subsequent projects.
- UCP-SARnet partnered with SIAS International University (China) and Global Interactions, Inc (USA) through the organization of an innovative educational program called "The World Academy for the Future of Women." UCP-SARnet also initiated collaboration between the Academy and Rutgers University. In May 2010, UCP-SARnet organized the second Bridging the World Virtual Event at SIAS International University in China. Community activists from 10 countries participated in the event as well as several hundred Chinese students and faculty members.
- Following suggestions made by UN Millennium Campaign, UCP-SARnet established collaboration with the Thunderbird School of Global Management. On October 28, we had a meeting with Dr. O. Babarinde (Director of MBA Program and President of African Association of Arizona) and Kellie Krieser, the Executive Director of "Thunderbird for Good" to discuss details. We agreed to follow-up with the organization of a Thunderbird UCP-SARnet Club, work together on STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY campaigns, organize a presentation on UCP-SARnet for faculty and students, as well as discuss with some faculty members the option of adding UCP-SARnet to their instructional offer.
- As a result of collaboration with the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID), UCP-SARnet presented a plan for the promotion of MDG enabler, a type of software created by GAID to support community leaders and governmental officials attempting to develop new community projects addressing the Millennium Development Goals. Dr. Marek Wosinski discussed the project with the GAID Secretariat and presented it at the Preparatory Meeting of GAID in September. On December 4-5 the proposal was presented to the Global Forum of GAID in Abu Dhabi. We are currently in the process of preparing the final plan. There are already plans to promote MDG eNabler in India in collaboration with ACT India, as well as at the CU-EXPO conference in Canada and at the 2011 MDG Conference in Zhengzhou (China).
- UCP-SARnet has been actively involved in organizing the Community-University Exposition 2011 in Canada. We will have one plenary session presenting the work of UCP-SARnet along with several individual presentations. UCP-SARnet invited Dr. Bedi to deliver the keynote speech opening CU Expo 2011 in Canada and she accepted this invitation.
- A new ICT team with 11 members has been created (led by Adam Euerby from Canada) with the task of developing new features for the UCP-SARnet portal offered by IGLOO (community spaces) and to make the portal more interactive and user friendly. The ICT Team will be also involved in the implementation of the MDG enabler.
- We have created a new format for the UCP-SARnet Newsletter. The first issue was published on December 15 and contains extended information about UCP-SARnet's current activities.
- IGLOO has extended 2011 its in-kind technological support for UCP-SARnet in value of $ 30, 000 until July 2012.
- At the beginning of the year our website was upgraded by Adam Euerby from the University of Waterloo in Canada. He also conducted a research project measuring the impact of the upgrade on functioning of the network. The results of this project were presented at two conferences.
- The development of the Gandhi College of Social Work in India has made a significant progress. The first building for the college has been renewed, numerous meetings with local communities increased community support for the college, and several nationwide events were organized to promote the college.
- UCP-SARnet Club (Forks for Change) has been registered as an ASU student organization, and in a period of relatively short time a team led by Mohamed Camara organized several interesting events and attracted a group of passionate student activists. We will promote the structure and program of this club as a model for other universities worldwide.
- UCP-SARnet helped in organization of the Community-University Exposition in Canada and was visibly present at this conference.
- We organized another Bridging the World event in China with participation of around 2000 Chinese students.
- UCP-SARnet got involved in the President's Interfaith Camus Challenge project. We participated in several meetings, created the web page for the project and look forward how the project will develop next year.
- UCP-SARnet was present at the conference organized by the World Youth Alliance in Nairobi, and as a result of this new partnerships will be created in several African countries next year.
- In Cameroon UCP-SARnet was represented by Dr. Wosinski and Osee Romeo Njacheun, our Coordinator for Africa at the meetings with Minister of Youth Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, University of Douala, leaders of local community organizations and US Embassy in Cameroon. The role of UCP-SARnet in facilitating a partnership between government, university and community organizations was discussed and a draft of the plan for the year 2012 was created.
- We discussed potential for collaboration with numerous units of the Arizona State University.
- We signed agreements on Knowledge Partnership with Coaching the Global Village.
- The number of organizational members increased to 34. The following organizations became our organizational members: Foundation Islamique de Recherches pour le Bien-Etre de la Jeunesse Congalaise (Kinshasa), Greater Boghe Area Association Inc (USA), International Youth Peace Tourism & Development Initiative (Nigeria), Kalawa Library and School Project (USA), "New Choice" Children's Charity (Mongolia), Social Care Youth Initiative (Rwanda), Woman as Hero (USA).
- We increased the number of individual members to above 1200.
- A Stand Up Against Poverty event was organized at ASU.
- In collaboration with the Thunderbird School of global Management and Global Interactions, Inc, a new program for the International Summit in China has been created as well as a strategy of marketing it.
- Osee Romeo Njacheun, in collaboration with the Leadership Team and local community organizations, has developed two projects: program of Leadership Workshops for African Region, and a project of Eco Village in Cameroon.
- Our newsletter edited by Abidah Kalife started to appear regularly and has achieved a really professional standard.
- January: Dr. Marek Wosinski and Briendra Kumar visited GRF and JISL to discuss potential for collaboration.
- January: Dr. Barbara Klimek, Director of ASU Master Program in Social Work, and Dr. Marek Wosinski visited Champaran to discuss collaboration between Gandhi College of Social work and ASU School of Social Work.
- April: Representation of UCP-SARnet met with the UN Office for Peacebuilding Support, UN Foundation, Corporate Council on Africa and USAID to discuss potential for collaboration on EmPeace LABS Project.
- May: We had the First Partnership Meeting. Mr. B. Krishnakumar presented JIS: and GRF to ASU Faculty and Administration
- May: UCP-SARnet received from the Gilbert School District 120 used laptops and 350 used desktops. They will be utilized for creating e-learing centers in India and Ghana. ASU Office for Knowledge Enterprise donated $ 4000 for covering costs of refurbishment.
- June: We had the Second Partnership Meeting to discuss strategy for creating a partnership between ASU, GRF and JISL
- July: A Partnership Agreement between Arizona State University, Gandhi Research Foundation and Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. was offcially signed by all parties. Please click on the link for details.
- October: With Dr. R. Aggarwal from the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability as a Principal Investigator we submitted a grant proposal to AUSAID.
- October: First International Leadership Training EmPeace LABS 2012 took place in Jalgaon (India) inaugurating EmPeace LABS project.
- November: Team led by the ASU Office for Global Engagement and Global Institute of Sustainability started to write grant proposal for USAID.
- November: UCP-SARnet's Executive Team met to discuss strategy for the year 2013. Dr. Rimjhim Agarwal and Dr. Richard Knopf , members of the Advisory Board, participated in the discussion.
- December: University of Ghana and UCP-SARnet Ghana agreed to collaborate on creating E-learning Center.
- January: The organizational structure of the Leadership Team has been changed. The Board of Directors and Executive Team have been created.
- February: ICT Team cleaned the network's website from and not used information. A social event for the Team members was organized. Training for the facilitators of the World Academy for the future of Women was organized.
- April: We conducted negotiations with ONcam regarding possible use of this system in networking among UCP-SARnet members. Replication of EmPeace LABS has been organized by Helvecia Takwe in Cameroon. Forks for Change (UCP-SARnet's ASU Club) organized a fundraising event Art for Change. We started work on organization of the EmPeace LABS 2013 workshop.
- May: UCP-SARnet adopted the street in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Marek and Mohamed Abdalla presented workshop for the World Academy of the Future of Women in China. They also visited Karmi Initiative (project created by Jason Shah, one of the participants of EmPeace LABS 2012) as well as Pokhara University in Nepal to negotiate potential for partnership agreement between this university and ASU. Dr. Marek visited Jalgaon to discuss with JISL and GRF organization of the EmPeace LABS 2013 workshop.
- July: Silas Ngahane from Cameroon went to Jalgaon as an intern to work with Gandhi Research Foundation on organization of EmPeace LABS 2013.
- October: Partnership agreement between ASU and Pokhara University was signed by Dr. E. Phillips, ASU Provost and by Dr. Khagendra Prasad Bhattarai, Vice Chancellor of Pokhara University. The EmPeace LABS 2013 workshop took place in Jalgaon, with participation of 25 community leaders from 15 African countries. The workshop was covered by press in numerous countries, and especially in India. We hired two new members of ICT Team, Rudeep Rajthala in Kathmandu and Anup Gugung in Pokhara.
- September: Silas Ngahane went to Nepal as an intern with Pokhara University. He created EmPeace LABS Club in Ananda Bhumi Boarding High School in Kathmandu. Similar club will be created in Anabhuti School in Jalgaon and one or more of the high schools in Arizona. With the mentoring of the Forks for Change ASU Club the schools will organize student exchange in 2014.
- November: the project of Study Abroad Program 2014 entitled Multicultural Perspective on the Development of Sustainable Communities was created in frame of programs organized within Global Institute of Sustainability. Dr. D. Kulkarni from Jan Irrigation Systems, Ltd. visited ASU to discuss organization of Water Conference and Global Water University. Dr. Marek and Mohamed Abdalla participated in the workshop of the Better Future Network in Rio de Janeiro. This meeting opened a new partnership opportunities with Brazil, Canada, Argentina and South Africa. Jason Shah agreed to coordinate activities of UCP-SARnet in Nepal and is arranging a partnership agreement with the Tribhuwan University in Kathmandu. Dr. Vinze, Associate Dean International Programs and Associate Vice Provost, will visit TU to discuss potential of partnership in December.
- December: Newsletter about emPeace LABS 2013 was published. Dr. Aggraval and Dr. Marek participated in the meeting on partnership with Amarita University in India organized by the office of ASU President. It was suggested that collaboration on EmPeace LABS project will be the first step in this towards this partnership. Dr. Marek meet with Dr. Simon, Vice Provost for International Strategic Initiatives, as well as with Dr. Rob Melnick from GIOS to discuss short term and long term plans for UCP-SARnet. Jason Shah and Silas Nghahane organized a visit of Dr. Vinze in Nepal. Contacts developed during this visit will be followed up next year.
- January: Dr. Marek Wosinski resigned from the position of Network Facilitator. At the meeting of the Board of Directors on January 16 the new Management Team was elected by the Board of Directors. The Team will facilitate further development of UCP-SARnet and will be coordinated by Dr. Iris Drower. Dr. Marek Wosinski, founder of UCP-SARnet, will remain with the network in the role of Advisory Board member. Dr. Rimjhim Aggraval resigned from Advisory Board and joined the Managment Team.