What would be your ideal vision for how the Talloires Network should move forward in engaging students around the world in the network and global civic engagement movement?
The Talloires Network as I see it, is a movement that has at its core the noble intention of helping students become more civically engaged in both their local and international communities. The main barrier to this engagement is twofold. Firstly, there is currently great room for students to have their voices heard, especially at upper levels of decision making. Secondly, there is the powerful tool of technology, in specific, social networking that can mobilise a mass of eager students who currently lack the knowledge to engage.
Elaborating on my first point of increased student leadership, I recall an interesting question that was raised and debated by members of the student communications team. That is, why there is no student representation at upper levels of decision making within the Talloires Network. Perhaps a single student representative sitting on the steering committee would result in a great deal of good as the student voice is pushed more to the forefront of public view. A student sitting directly on this committee would have the responsibility of disseminating information relevant to their role and this would bring with it a unique perspective. I also see great merit in the idea of the communications team and firmly believe that it should continue on in future years. Perhaps through an evolution of this role, future teams may play a more active role in discussion in addition to their reporting duties. Through bringing in students from different disciplines and fields, as was the case with this year’s team, a wider cross-section of society that better represents world opinion is had.
My second point, which centres on technology, is that it will play an increasingly important role in both the setting of goals and in realising them. TakingITGlobal is just one way through which students can engage with likeminded individuals whilst at the same time building global awareness and cross-cultural understanding. The growth of platforms like TakingITGlobal and other, perhaps less specialised social networks signals a great opportunity for the Talloires Network to reach a greater base of students and utilise their skills.
In moving forward, the Talloires Network should look to continuing the great work it is currently doing with students and should continue to offer opportunities for the recognition of great work. Technology should act as a medium through which students engage with each other, and the wider world.