USOS is a social justice driven association that exists as a cooperation between the University of Antwerp and the Flemish-Dutch Region of the Jesuit Order. This unique collaboration materialises in the task to support the University of Antwerp in its ambition to become a globally engaged university. USOS employs two strategies to this end, notably (1) global citizenship education and (2) the promotion of partnerships with the Global South.
- USOS's educational activities are characterised by experiential learning, reflection, dialogue and critical debate. To this end, USOS collaborates with the university's nine faculties. Whenever possible, our activities are carried out in joint ownership with our partners in the Global South, for example when it concerns our exposure programmes.
- USOS facilitates and strengthens collaborations between University of Antwerp and institutions of higher education in the Global South, notably in DR Congo, India, Morocco, Nicaragua, Suriname and Brazil. The partnerships strive for equality and reciprocity. They are are based on trust and mutual understanding and give rise to student and staff exchanges.
USOS was founded in 1985 by the former UFSIA (Universitaire Faculteiten Sint-Ignatius te Antwerpen) and the Flemish Province of the Jesuit Order. Following the merger of the three Antwerp universities in 2003, the newly-founded University of Antwerp took over the care of and commitment to USOS.
USOS owes its current existence to the University of Antwerp's pluralistic project, to the Flemish-Dutch Region of the Jesuit Order and to the statutory cooperation between these two organisations.
Today, USOS is a key player in the University of Antwerp's strategy to become a globally engaged university.
USOS is a non-profit organisation under the status of a "vzw". Although being autonomous in the strict sense, it depends heavily on the statutory cooperation between University of Antwerp and the Flemish-Dutch Region of the Jesuit Order. For this, USOS subscribes to the objectives of both founding members, for which it can count on an annual financial contribution from both partners.
The statutes provide for equal participation between the founding members in the governance of USOS. While the annual General Assembly sets the general policies, the Board of Directors is responsible for day-to-day management and guidance of staff.
- DR Congo: Divin-Luc Bikubanya
- Nicaragua: Pierre Merlet
- Morocco: Bart Van Rompaey
- India: Devanshi Saxena
- Suriname: Marleen Goethals & Johan De Walsche
- Brazil: Marleen Goethals & Johan De Walsche
- Céline Vanden Abbeele (Ma International Relations and Diplomacy)
- Hanne De Boe (Ba Social-Economic Sciences)