Transformation and cultural change

International Context & Activities

Okanagan International Charter

“Health Promoting Universities and Colleges transform the health and sustainability of our current and future societies, strengthen communities and contribute to the wellbeing of people, places and the planet…They infuse health into everyday operations, business practices and academic mandates. By doing so, they enhance the success of our institutions; create campus cultures of compassion, wellbeing, equity and social justice; improve the health of the people who live, learn, work, play and love on our campuses; and strengthen the ecological, social and economic sustainability of our communities and wider society.”

Okanagan Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges, 2015

The 2015 Okanagan International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges
sets out a radical and far-reaching vision, supporting an emergent global movement.
Urging higher education institutions to incorporate health promotion values and principles into their mission, vision and strategic plans, and model and test approaches for the wider community and society, the Charter issues two Calls to Action for higher education institutions:

  • Embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates.
  • Lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.

International Conferences

In June 2015, the International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges took place, and presentations and other documentation are available at the website.  A key output was the Okanagan International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges.

The interactive Conference design supported knowledge exchange among a diversity of people interested in the intersections of human and environmental health and wellbeing, ecosystem sustainability and learning and productivity.

International Health Promoting Campuses Symposium, Sunday 7th April 2019, Rotorua, New Zealand

To coincide with the 23rd World Conference on Health Promotion, which takes place from 7th-11th April 2019 in New Zealand, an International Health Promoting Campuses Symposium is being organised on Sunday 7th April [N.B. participants do not need to attend the IUHPE conference to participate in the symposium]. The symposium builds on and aims to help activate the the Okanagan Charter within universities around the world and will be highly relevant to academics, management, students, educators, student support staff, researchers, health promotion and public health specialists, and all those interested in the promotion of health, wellbeing and sustainability within higher education. If you are interested in participating and/or contributing, please contact Dr Anna Thorpe, chair of the Tertiary Wellbeing Aotearoa New Zealand (TWANZ) Network for information and registration of interest.

Other Networks

Following the 2015 International Conference, an International Health Promoting Universities & Colleges Steering Group was established, currently chaired by Prof. Mark Dooris from the UK Network. This oversees a ‘network of networks’ and has a website, intended to provide a shared platform for networks around the world. Details of a number of networks are listed below:

The German Network of Health Promoting Universities was established in 1995. It aims to initiate and support health promoting conditions for life and work in the university setting and adopts a strong salutogenic focus. The Network follows the healthy settings approach and utilises German Quality Criteria of Health Promoting Universities.

The Ibero-American Network of Health Promoting Universities (RIUPS) was established in 2007 to support the development, implementation and evaluation of  health promoting universities – and to disseminate experiences and lessons learned.

The Spanish Network of Healthy Universities (REUS) was established in 2008 with the aim of strengthening the role of universities as sponsors of the health and welfare of students, staff, and society as a whole, leading and supporting processes of social change.

The Swiss Network of Health Promoting Universities was established in 2009 and formally constituted in 2015. It is strongly focused on workplace health promotion and prevention.

The International Sustainable Campus Network provides a global forum to support leading colleges, universities, and corporate campuses in the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices for achieving sustainable campus operations and integrating sustainability in research and teaching.

The Tertiary Wellbeing Aotearoa New Zealand  (TWANZ) Network aims to support local, national and international collaboration and initiatives to increase the health and wellbeing of staff and students through systemic change in tertiary settings across Aotearoa New Zealand. TWANZ is guided by the principles outlined in the Okanagan Charter, while reflecting the uniqueness of Aotearoa settings, knowledge and populations. This is reflected in the TWANZ guide ‘Applying the Okanagan Charter for health promoting campuses in Aotearoa New Zealand’.

The Canadian Health Promoting Universities and Colleges Network was established in 2016 and engages higher education institutions across Canada to activate the Okanagan Charter and advance the health promoting campuses movement.

The 2015 International Conference highlighted a number of Healthy Universities Networks, illustrated in the linked presentation.