The second day of the ACU Centenary conference took place on Thursday, 17 October 2013, at University of London’s Senate House in Central London, UK, and according to Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Internationalisation, Advancement and Student Affairs at UJ, proceedings kicked off on the theme of “universities, civil society and social engagement”. Speakers emphasised the importance of universities prioritising community engagement, and not alienating religious beliefs and practices.
ACU’s centenary conference, themed Future forward: design, develop, deliver, brings together top academics and high-profile speakers to discuss the role universities play in social and economic development.
According to Prof Maluleke, the first speaker, Professor Prabhu Guptara, management professor at William Carey University, India, expressed the need for universities to connect with NGOs; how they are just as valuable as government and business connections. Professor Janice Reid from the University of Western Sydney, Australia and one of the female speakers at the conference, suggested that universities need to prioritise community engagement amidst a plethora of other pressing activities, and local schools are an important entry point for community engagement.
“Universities need to approach community service with humility, realism and openness to the possibility of failure. Knowledge may make us powerful, but it’s in service that we find our humanity,” Prof Reid said.