Recap ICEL Launch event

On March 7th, UGlobe launched the International Community Engaged Learning Lab at the Social Impact Factory. The event, hosted by Dr. Lauren Gould, started with two conversations exploring the relevance of iCEL from the perspectives of lecturers, students and societal partners. Prof. James Kennedy, chair of Community Engaged Learning (CEL), moderated the first conversation, in which Dr. Lauren Gould talked about an ICEL project she ran under Uglobe’s research programme 'The Intimacies of Remote Warfare’.

Together with her societal partner, Erin Bijl (Senior Project Officer at the PAX Protection of Civilians team) and student Isa Zoetbrood (Master in Conflict Studies and Human Rights), they reflected on their learning experiences, the unexpected findings and what could be improved in the future. Isa expressed that the ICEL allowed her to interact with key stakeholders, including representatives of Dutch and Iraqi NGOs, the Dutch Ministry of Defence and survivors of remote bombardments in Iraq. Erin relayed that PAX and the project benefitted greatly from the contributions made by the students, both in terms of time as well academically informed insight. Lauren, Isa and Erin agreed that they should have engaged in more joint reflection moments throughout and especially after the collaboration had ended. For inspiration on how to build relationships with societal partners and include reflection moments in your ICEL project, see our (I) CEL toolkits here.


In the second segment, Nieves Tapia, director of the Latin American Center for Solidarity Service Learning (CLAYSS), was interviewed by Dr. Lorena Sosa (UGlobe’s Director of Education), incorporating a global south perspective on the question of why iCEL matters. She emphasised the need to build local connections and engage with ongoing projects to make iCEL more sustainable. She also reflected on how important it is to manage student’s expectation about what can realistically be done within the contours of one ICEL project. Reflection, reciprocity and solidarity were highlighted in both conversations as critical aspects of iCEL.

The second part of the event consisted of a workshop where participants used UGlobe’s iCEL toolkits to start thinking about and planning their own projects. During the activity, participants expressed their hopes and reservations regarding starting iCEL projects, leading to in-depth discussions. The importance of ‘finding the right allies’ when engaging in iCEL appeared as a common thread throughout the event. It also seemed to capture the general feeling among the participants and organisers.