Monday, April 02, 2007


Aha! Another unforgiveable gap in communication over the last couple of weeks. A sign of great industry of course. Also international trips can sometimes wreak havoc with the best of blogging intentions. I was at a very interesting symposium in Barcelona on cultural change in higher education and it was fascinating to exchange ideas with colleagues.

As for developments, there have been many others also. Last week, for example, saw the publication in Ireland of the report of the Taoiseach's Taskforce on Active Citizenship. On a purely parochial level, it was good to see our student volunteering group get a photo of their work on the front cover!

More substantively, the report makes quite a number of recommendations. It also draws attention to the fact that rather than there being a decline in the volunteering activity of Irish people, there has been a change in the nature of the involvement/participation. Where there is a decline in participation, though, is in the party political sphere. I guess this fits with many other Western democracies' experience, that once parties become concentrated on how best to manage the system/economy rather than having debates over fundamental causes and political philosophies it is much more difficult to interest people.

The report also briefly mentions the role of higher education with a recommendation that there is more research work in the area of civic engagement, something which obviously fits well with our own activities here in Galway through the Community Knowledge Initiative and, also many other research project across various departments. Indeed we now have rather large number of programmes and research students working in areas related to civil society and social justice.

1 comment:

topgold said...

At first glance, it appears the report on active citizenship gives short shrift to the electronic dimension of community involvement. A lively segment of Irish society connect across dialing codes through electronic social networks. It's as though some of the over-40s dismiss this viable citizen network.