This is an intensive, two-week course where students from around the globe will strengthen their skills, knowledge, and understanding of civil society; expand their understanding of global threats to civil society outside of their own communities, and share experiences and learn from their international colleagues.
This course is taught in the backdrop of the pandemic and threats to civil society becoming even more apparent. The Civicus 2021 report identifies some strategies governments utilized to “assert top-down, command-and-control approaches that seemed to show little trust in the wisdom of people and communities. The first instinct of many presidents and prime ministers was to act as though the pandemic was a threat to their power, rolling out well-rehearsed routines of repression. States took on broad emergency powers, and at least some clearly used the pandemic as a pretext to introduce rights restrictions that will last long after the crisis has passed. At a time when scrutiny was more difficult, the suspicion was that some political leaders were opportunistically consolidating their power, rushing through repressive measures they had long wanted to unleash.”
Experiences within Osun’s global partnerships confirm the concerns that emerging trends are threatening open society. We witnessed the closure of Parami and the American University of Afghanistan where faculty, staff, and students are under threat for their affiliations. Students at BCB, CEU, and Belarus were arrested for their activism. The president of Haiti was assassinated and experienced a catastrophic earthquake placing extreme pressure on students connected to HELP. American University of Beirut staff and faculty are trying to respond to the collapse of civil society in Lebanon and the HUBS program is working to address the ongoing challenges for refugee learners. In the U.S., a proliferation of election laws to limit voting access along with new threats to reproductive rights is playing out to the backdrop of catastrophic weather conditions.
We will reflect on these challenges and outline ways for civil society to respond and move forward.
The course objectives are to enhance the skills and knowledge of students and help them become engaged citizens. The course includes a wide range of faculty with expertise in frameworks and issues related to civil society while students explore solutions to address community issues. The course will attempt to help students develop shared definitions of engagement and help them develop a community project idea to develop once they have returned back to their home institutions.
Osun faculty and local civic leaders will run workshops, teach specific sessions and organize site visits with local civic organizations. In coordination with CEU’s civic engagement programs and projects, students can learn from the ecosystem surrounding the campus by highlighting projects launched through initiatives like the Science Shop and Socrates course and site visits to local organizations. As a local model, CEU will help faculty and students understand the role institutions can play within civil society as they explore their own role as civic actors. Students from the local region, including students from the Socrates or Olive projects, will join and share their experiences with the course’s participants.
We will require immersive reading and writing within the context of an experiential learning course that includes shared group projects, fieldwork, site visits, workshops, and networking with civil leaders. We explore historical, philosophical, and practical elements of civic engagement while asking the underlying question of what it means to be an engaged citizen in the early 21st century. Together, students will examine issues related to political participation, civil society, associational life, social justice, and personal responsibility. The class reflects a balance between study and engagement, studying theoretical notions of civic life while empowering students to be active participants in the communities in which they are situated.
In this spirit, students will be asked to write a short response paper to a proposed theme while later in the course they will reflect on a civil society topic via story-telling, which can include videos or podcasts. Finally, the culminating project will be a civic action paper and presentation that addresses a specific issue in a given community.
This course will provide a platform for students from across the globe to explore their own understanding of civil society both in a local and global context. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students (both have participated in the civic engagement network courses) and open to students throughout the OSUN network and beyond.
As a prerequisite for the course, participants need to demonstrate
- a willingness to participate in experiential educational opportunities including interviews, discussions, and site visits;
- at least some demonstrated practice or participation in volunteering, community service, or project development;
- relevant course experience in political science, sociology, human rights, or other related fields.
How to Apply
Completed CEU Summer University Application Form
We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.
- You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time. Financial aid, if available, is only granted to attend one course.
- If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password.
- Right after login, please select ”Summer University” radiobutton from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
- All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
- The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
- Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
- Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.