Universities and cause-driven organizations: natural partners in today’s troubled world? 27 Mar 2019 11:00 12:00

Universities and cause-driven organizations: natural partners in today’s troubled world? 27 Mar 2019 11:00 12:00

Dr. Susheela Balasundaram Presenter
Mr. Piet Van Hove Presenter
Ms. Ceren Genc Presenter


Universities and cause-driven organizations: natural partners in today’s troubled world?

Cause-driven organizations bring to the table first-hand knowledge about real world problems as well as actual experience with tackling the issues at hand. From universities they can receive guidance to give their activities stronger foundations and higher impact, to explore new approaches, to improve monitoring of results. By working together with organizations in the field, universities can increase their societal relevance and the quality of their work, get better data, offer real-world learning experiences to students. However, a well-thought-out approach and some due diligence are needed in setting up these collaborations. NGO’s and other cause-driven organizations can have or can be perceived to have certain political or ideological biases, which are sometimes not immediately apparent, or which can evolve over time. Universities have to take into account political realities, as well as the academic freedom of their staff. In this session, speakers combining experience and involvement with both universities and three cause-driven organizations will explore how partnerships between those organizations and universities can further their respective missions and objectives. More specifically, the following cases will be explored: • access to higher education for displaced people (www.spark-online.org), • innovative scent detection technologies for humanitarian purposes (www.apopo.org) • healthcare for refugees (www.UNHCR.org)

In today’s troubled and fast-changing world, universities aim to be hubs of knowledge creation and distribution in order to address the major global challenges facing humanity. They do this through research programs and innovation but also by equipping their students to become global citizens, ready to have a positive impact on society. Cause-driven organizations be they NGO’s, other types of nonprofits, or certain multilateral organizations, play a more and more important role in today’s globalized society in advancing specific urgent and important causes, which often overlap with those within the scope of attention of universities. Examples of these causes include assistance to displaced people, advancing access to education for all, promoting diversity and inclusion, improving public health in developing countries, etc. These organizations can be the natural partners of universities, it would seem… Participants in this session will: 1. learn about how this type of partnerships can work in practice, 2. explore real examples of collaborations between universities and cause-driven organizations. The following questions will be addressed: how can universities and various cause-driven organizations work together to achieve their joint missions and common goals? What are opportunities and pitfalls in setting up and running these partnerships?



Mr Piet Van Hove
International Relations Office
University of Antwerp

Director of the University of Antwerp’s International Office since 2005, former chair of Study in Flanders, held leadership positions in EAIE, former board member of ACA. Board member of www.apopo.org, training rats to detect landmines and diseases in vulnerable societies, based in Morogoro, Tanzania, and active in 10 countries.

Ms Ceren Genç
Deputy Regional Manager

Ceren has built up a strong international network and has gained expertise in different aspects of internationalization of higher education. She has delivered several sessions and workshops on admissions and on recognition for refugees. Her professional interest lies in informal & non-formal learning recognition as well as formal learning recognition.


Dr Jason Yeo 
Programme Associate, Health,

Jason Yeo graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Community Health from Universiti Putra Malaysia. He is completing his PhD in Community Nutrition from the same university. He is currently working as a programme associate in Health with UNHCR Malaysia. He has been with the organisation for 4 years and mainly assist in HIV prevention and case management as well as health programme management. He works closely with various stakeholders on refugees issues through health projects. He recently embarked on a collaborative project with several academic institutions to develop and implement health education for refugees children. He also plays a key role in health related research activities with the organisation particularly the healthcare access and utilisation survey (HAUS). Besides that, he has research experience in nutrition, sexual and reproductive health and HIV.

Room 304