We, the signatories of this Manifesto that has been developed by the EU-USR Project co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union:
- Believe that all Universities have a public interest mission and what they do –in terms of teaching, research and public engagement- must reflect the values of equity, social cohesion, non-discrimination, inclusion and access, sustainability, awareness of societal needs at local and global level; and thus allow them to become examples of responsible management, civic participation, democracy and positive social impact, being an inspiration for others to do the same and for students in particular;
- Recognise that the social role of Universities is a concern of the UN, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the European Union and others, and is an object of interest of several existing networks at international level, but also observe that awareness and implementation strategies are not equally developed in all countries and institutions, leaving many well intentioned actors in conditions of uncertainty and lack of practical support when they want to drive change in the direction of University Social Responsibility;
- Recognise the inspirational value that Corporate Social Responsibility Standards (ISO26000) may have in the development of University Social Responsibility approaches, but also the need to re-conceptualize them when applied to institutions that have by definition a prevailing social mission articulated in their different functions (teaching, research and public engagement);
- Understand that each University may have a different profile, objectives and expected achievements in the field of Social Responsibility, but also that reference standards may help to identify relevant areas and objectives to be achieved, as well as to structure collaboration;
- Propose new Standards for University Social Responsibility, the product of analysis of a wide range of evidence, a series of benchmarking visits and consultations; promote the use of these standards to benchmark, self-assess, peer review and exchange information and knowledge about USR policies , strategies and practices across the EHEA , to help move beyond principle declarations and isolated good practices to generalized adoption of University Social Responsibility standards and review procedures;
- Call for a new commitment to systematically work together to achieve this goal, and offer the opportunity to undertake practical peer-reviewing activities, renewed advocacy and, more in general, collaboration on the theme of University Social Responsibility among existing networks and interested Universities;
- Propose an operational networking and community environment to share information, understanding, focused advocacy in support of University Social Responsibility, and to support innovative practices through the proposed operational tools.