Budapest, Hungary

Civic Engagement: Student as Citizen

when 5 July 2023 - 14 July 2023
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 550

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.

Course leader

Jonathan Becker,Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, USA
Erin CannanCenter for Civic Engagement/Political Studies, Bard College, NY, USA
Chrysovalantis Margaritidis,Dean of Students, Civic Engagement/Department of Philosophy, Central European Universi

Target group

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.

Course aim

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.

Credits info

2 EC
Upon successful completion of the course, a certificate of attendance is also awarded.

Fee info

EUR 550: payable until May 28
EUR 495: payable until April 30


The Open Society University Network is offering scholarships on a competitive basis for currently enrolled students and employees of OSUN member institutions. If admitted, fee waivers are available for students of CIVICA institutions.