Bridging Lifelong Learning and Social Impact

The European University Continuing Education Network (eucen) stands at the forefront of strengthening University Lifelong Learning (ULLL) in universities across Europe. With a primary focus on contributing to the development and enhancement of ULLL, eucen plays a crucial role in advocating for ULLL at the European policy level. Through a multifaceted approach that includes activities targeted at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and direct lobbying in Brussels, eucen has strong expertise in initiating dialogues at an EU level, exchanging knowledge, and influencing the European policy development related to ULLL.

Eucen is joint dissemination partners with Momentum in SIM, their reach extends far and wide, with a network comprising of 170 members from 34 different countries. This extensive network allows eucen to make significant contributions to the social, economic, and cultural life of the European higher education landscape. The organisation achieves this by promoting and advancing lifelong learning within HEIs, thereby fostering a positive impact on society. Currently, this is underscored by eucen’s commitment to societal well-being is its involvement in the Social Impact Manager (SIM) project.

The SIM project addresses a gap in European programs by focusing on the linkages between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and community development. SIM introduces a new perspective on CSR, emphasizing the social impact dimension and encouraging companies to strengthen their connections with communities and stakeholders. The social impact manager in the SIM project is conceptualised as a hybrid figure combining the roles of a corporate social responsibility manager and a community development officer. This shows that SIM operates on the fundamental premise that companies and communities are interdependent – companies need communities, and communities need companies. This symbiotic relationship forms the basis of the project, advocating for a holistic and collaborative approach to social impact. The SIM role is characterised by the ability to facilitate collaboration between companies and their local communities, thereby fostering community resilience.

The project plays a crucial role in empowering European companies to take on more significant responsibilities in addressing contemporary societal issues. Armed with specialised training and expertise, SIMs excel in nurturing alliances and partnerships within their communities. Moreover, they devise and implement sustainable solutions tailored to local challenges, ensuring that the impact is not only significant but also contextually relevant.

Eucen’s involvement in the SIM project showcases the organisation’s dedication to leveraging education as a catalyst for positive societal change. By bridging the gap between lifelong learning and social impact, eucen and SIM collectively contribute to a vision where universities, companies, and communities collaboratively shape a better future. Through initiatives like this, eucen continues to be a driving force in advancing the cause of lifelong learning and promoting the holistic well-being of European societies.

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