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Civic Engagement
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This course is archived
Course date
July 4–15, 2022
Application deadline
The application process for this course is closed.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

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.

Course structure

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.

Target Group

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.

Please read the following directions carefully. 
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission:

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form (see notes below)
  2. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any
    Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any.
  3. Statement of purpose (max.1 page) 
    In the Statement of Purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research, or professional work, and in what way you expect to benefit from it. Please list relevant courses in the field you have taken previously during your studies. 
    Please provide a name, contact email, and phone number of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance. 
  4. Personal Statement on Financial Aid
    Those who are eligible and wish to apply for financial aid should specify their reasons in the “Personal statement on financial aid” section (Funding page of the application form). 

Optional attachments: 

You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the "Other Supporting Documents" section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed. 

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.
  • 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. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select the ”Summer University” radio button 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.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.