During the last summer we consulted members of the Advisory Board whether we should make some modifications of UCP-SARnet's and consequently its goals for the coming year. As you may remember, the ideas for these modification came from our participation of UCP-SARnet in significant international events. Below you will find brief descriptions of all steps that have been taken as a result of this consulation, as well as a description of our plans for the next year.
1. Last May I was invited by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) to facilitate a training workshops on networking and partnerships development for the participants of the World Civic Forum in Seoul. Participants of the workshop, as well as other participants representing local governments and civic organizations from different regions of the world, suggested that UCP-SARnet should somehow relate its activities to the UN Millennium Development Goals. This suggestion was confirmed in consultations I had later with the leadership of UNDESA.
2. Last May UCP-SARnet organized at the SIAS International University in Zhengzhou (China) a virtual conference with participation of community activists, students and faculty from 17 countries. This three days long event also confirmed that concentration on global issues and local solutions for these issues may have a great educational value and will allow to further strengthen our network.
3. Last July I was invited by the UNESCO headquarters to participate in the World Conference on Higher Education in Paris. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the future of higher education in the context of global issues of our times. Among the most significant conclusions, included in the statement made by this conference, was the idea of social responsibility of higher education. One of the indicator of this responsibility could be the focus on educating new generation of community leaders how to address these issues. It seems that UCP-SARnet's portal can be utilized as an educational tool serving this particular purpose.
4. Also in July, in conjunction with the above conference, I was invited to participate in the Education Leaders Forum organized by the UNESCO and Microsoft. This was a one day brainstorming session on how to use Informational Technology to enhance effectiveness of educational institutions, mainly universities. Considering the fact that among participants there were ministers of higher education from numerous countries, people representing university administration, representation of UNESCO and experts on ICT, the discussion was very powerful, inspiring and reaffirming our plans.
As the idea of revision of UCP-SARnet's vision was not objected by the Advisory Board and the members of our Leadership Team, during the months of July and August we were intensely working on changing the structure of the portal to adjust it to the revised mission.
5. A couple of weeks ago we received confirmation from CIGI that they will expand their support in form of hosting our network for one more year. This is a substantial support that gives us more time to find future sources of funding for our network.
6. Finally, I was invited by UNDESA to participate in the conference organized by the UNDESA and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) in Monterrey (Mexico). GAID is an international body created with the support of UN by experts and high profile executives to monitor and enhance the use of informational technology in realization of the Millennium Development Goals. The current President of GAID is Mr. Talal Abu-Ghasaleh, the Chairman and Founder of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, the largest Arab global group of professional service firms.
The most significant consequence of presence of UCP-SARnet at this conference was an invitation extended by the leaderships of UNDESA and GAID to initiate the process of registration of UCP-SARnet as an organizational partner of GAID, and me as expert on use of ICT for networking between universities and communities. It was also decided that the relationship between UCP-SARnet and UNDESA will be formalized. Both facts will open for UCP-SARnet a new platform for creating new partnership and inviting new members.
1. We invited Mr. Darmian Rodriguez Heyman, who is the Senior Advisor for the UN Gl;obal Alliance for ICT and Development to review UCP-SARnet mission and plans and help us to design effective marketing strategy as well as the strategy for searching sponsors.
2. In frame of already existing partnership between ASU and Sichuan University in Chengdu, as well as in frame of the Sister Cities Program in Phoenix, I am preparing for the last but one trip this year to Chengdu in China. I have already scheduled a sequence of meetings with relevant university and city officials, as well as with community organizations (in January a delegation from Chengdu will be hosted by the City of Phoenix and UCP-SARnet will participate in the organization of their program.)
3. After visiting Chengdu I will revisit SIAS International University in Zhengzhou where I meet with the UCP-SARnet Regional Coordinators Team, discuss UCP-SARnets support for the World Academy for the Future of the Women (a new project initiated at SIAS), and discuss with the university administration a potential for organization of an international conference in Zhengzhou next May.
4. The last trip this year will be to Malaysia to attend the conference on University-Community Engagement for Sustainability organized by the Division of Industry and Community Network and the University of Sains Malaysia in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Community Engaged Research (UCP-SARnet is a member of this alliance.) At this conference, together with one of our Regional Coordinators from India, we will present an example of international partnership between universities and community projects aiming the issue of poverty. The main purpose of our presence at this conference is to expand our connections in the region of Asi
5. We had already two meeting of the local Leadership Team. During the meetings we discussed the changes implemented on our portal, as well as specific plans for the fall and spring semesters. Besides of everyday activities related to facilitating and monitoring activity on the portal and inviting new partnerships, we decided to work on a the following projects:
· We will continue collaboration with the SIAS University in Zhengzhou (China). This collaboration will include participation in the World Academy for the Future of Women (one year program involving 100 Chinese female students who are preparing themselves to the leadership roles in their communities and about 20 women of success from outside China who will facilitate modules devoted to various aspects of the role of a woman in modern society.) We also plan organization of the conference on Community Leadership and Realization of MDG (May 2010). At the beginning of October I will be in Zhengzhou to discuss the budget and organization of the conference. We intend to bring all our Regional Coordinators, as well as other members interested in the issue.
· We will work on developing of collaboration with the Sichuan University and Chengdu University in China. Sichuan University is one of the leading universities in China and has already established a partnership with the Arizona State University. As a part of this partnership we want to create there a UCP-SARnet group and find instructors interested in utilizing UCP-SARnet in their educational offer. As Chengdu is also a sister city of Phoenix, as a part of the Sister Cities Project we want to initiate collaboration with Chengdu University and community organizations in both cities. I will be in Chengdu at the end of September to meet with the presidents of both universities and with the City Council of Chengdu.
· We will focus responsibilities of Regional Coordinators around the realization of MDG in their countries. The main task of a regional coordinator will be to make connections with community organizations in their countries that are involved directly or indirectly in realization of Millennium Development Goals and to publish relevant information on our portal. At the same time we expect that Regional Coordinators will assist in creating of new local and global partnerships between organizations involved in MDG. support their community projects in forms of publicity, search for volunteers, and help in finding sponsors. For each country there is a member on the Leadership Team responsible for facilitation of collaboration with regional coordinators.
· We plan to create a strong team of Regional Coordinators in Poland and make partnership with more Polish universities. I had a meeting with few faculty members at the Warsaw School for Social Sciences and Humanities who want to be involved, I also had a meeting with the Vice Minister of Higher Education in Poland who promised her organizational support for the idea.
· We also plan to expand the team of regional coordinators in China by including students from two universities in Chengdu and community activists from this region.
· We will participate in preparations for the Community-University Expo in Canada (Summer 2011).
· We will assist in preparation, support and monitor the World Tour for Peace, Human Rights and Global Partnership organized by Birendra Soni (India), our Regional Coordinator for India. Soon you may find detailed information about this project on our portal.
· We will intensely build the library of resources for community leaders. They will be organized according to the Millennium Development Goals and according to the countries. There will also be a new link from the Main Navigation "Community Building" where we will organize links to the basic information about community based research, community leadership, culture and cultural context and citizens' engagement. More than 70 students will work on this task as their semester projects.
· Finally, we hope to begin the project evaluating UCP-SARnet. A couple of students at the Warsaw School for Social Sciences and Humanities will devote two years for writing their master thesis as a part of this project.