Strengthening global responsibility skills in academic partnerships

September 14, 2022

Early this year UniPID and the Finnish higher education institutions’ global networks coordinated a Training on responsible global academic partnerships which was a hands-on opportunity to provide tools, empower participants with knowledge, and nurture global development skills.

UniPID and the Finnish higher education institutions’ global networks1 coordinated a Training on responsible global academic partnerships in May-June 2022. It aimed to raise awareness and facilitate critical (self-) reflection of dominant partnership approaches and models and provide practical guidance and tools for more fair and equitable partnership practice.

The Training was hosted by Samia Chasi and Eva Kagiri Kalanzi, and consisted of 5 virtual workshops on the following topics: introduction, power dynamics in partnerships, partnership administration and management, research collaboration, and fieldwork. Each session was targeted both to academic and administrative staff involved in or partnering with the global networks, based in Finland or in the partner countries. In general, the workshops concentrated on experiences from working with the Global South and followed key principles of engagement such as reflexivity, interactivity, mutuality, practicality, and inclusivity.

According to the participant analysis, most registered participants were administrative staff and teachers/researchers, and the level of experience with international partnerships was spread evenly between newly engaging to very highly experienced. Because of the diversity of participants, and the diversity level of experiences, the feedback on the content of the workshops differed. Overall, the workshops were well received by participants, stating that the objectives of each session were indeed met.

Kagiri Kalanzi expressed that the Training was a good opportunity to recognize, understand, and address the complexity and imbalances of international academic partnerships, especially in the North-South cooperation. Chasi quoted the African proverb "If you want to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today”, to argue that navigating challenges in North-South partnerships and bringing positive change towards more responsible and equitable engagements may seem like moving the proverbial mountain, and hoped that this Training offered participants the "stones" that can be lifted today to promote that change for tomorrow.

The Training was a hands-on opportunity to provide practical tools, empower participants with knowledge, and nurture skills to prevent and mitigate challenges that may rise when engaging in partnerships with peers and research participants between the Global North and Global South. As a follow up, UniPID is currently creating a toolkit which will have the material of this Training as well as a other resources with useful content and tools for strengthening global responsibility skills for academic partnerships. All the material will be available at the UniPID website in due time, so stay tuned!

If you are interested in knowing more about the Training or our work related to fair and responsible global academic partnerships, please do not hesitate to contact us through email , or follow us on twitter @unipidfinland.


1The training is funded by the Higher Education Platform for Global Sustainability (EDUCase); Finland-Africa Platform for Innovation (SDG 9) (FAPI); Finland-China Network in Food and Health (FCFH); Finnish Consortia for Research and Education (FICORE); Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL) Africa, China and India; Southern African and Finnish HE Institutions’ Network for Health and Wellbeing (SAFINET); and the Finnish University Partnerships for International Development (UniPID).