Elena Allegri Giulia Gullace Joëlle Long

Universities’ Third Mission. Some Critical Reflections on an Innovative Training and Support Programme for Voluntary Guardians of Unaccompanied Minors in Piedmont Region, Italy

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The article critically analyzes the experience of the Piedmont region in training and supporting voluntary guardians of Unaccompanied Minors (Um), highlighting aspects relevant to Universities’ Third Mission and Public Engagement. Through these type of activities and initiatives, universities actively contribute to society in various ways, having important social and cultural effects. The article examines the training, which has taken place or is in course, and the kind of support designed by Piedmont Universities for Um voluntary guardians. Moreover, we highlight how, through interdisciplinarity, the interweaving between theoretical and practical and inter-institutional collaboration, universities overcome the role of «service» in their third mission activities. Despite some problems, a virtuous circle was created, enhancing reciprocity between institutions dealing with the inclusion of migrants, university research and education. The positive impact of the experience of Piedmont Universities in the area is confirmed by data: by March 6, 2019, there were 527 potential guardians trained or in training; 318 were the names on the voluntary guardians list of the Turin Juvenile Court; around one hundred guardians are participating in support groups.


  • Third Stream
  • Public Engagement
  • University
  • Voluntary Guardians
  • Unaccompanied Minors


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