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About the Center

Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC) established in 2009 as an independent organization created as a "Center of Excellence" within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the flagship school of the state's five campus university system.

The Center was created in response to an urgent need for close study of society and culture in formulating communication and media strategies in order to ensure that target audiences are reached in an appropriate manner that most effectively enhances knowledge transfer and brings about sustainable social change. This is particularly so in developing countries where access to understandable information about health care (particularly HIV/AIDS), security, agriculture, literacy and other issues is vital. However, social change is not limited to developing countries, and the Center's activities will encompass global and local activities worldwide.

The Center is envisioned as an international resource base and focal point for broad interdisciplinary studies into the theory and practice of sustainable social change communication. CSSC will do this together with researchers and scholars around the globe.

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Recent News


04/19/2013 - 14:32
It was March 2012 when Yuan Zeng from Xi'an, China arrived in Amherst. The 30 year old visiting scholar earned a Master's degree at Peking University and now teaches International Communication and Journalism at Xi'an International Studies University.  Yuan was one of several recent visiting scholars sponsored by the Center for Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC) at UMass, under Professor Jan Servaes, director of the Center. While attending several courses in the Communication Department, Yuan found AmherstMedia to be a welcoming environment to learn more about using technical equipment in her work. Under the direction of Jim Lescault, executive director, Yuan was part of a team to further develop their civic journalism efforts into a weekly televised news program.  Yuan became the primary person in researching and writing the news, which she presented on-camera bilingually in English and Chinese. To view one of her programs on, "Hey, Amherst" click here.

Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Ms. Zeng describing her experiences reflecting on her perceptions of US culture, society, and education. Yuan noted many differences in approaches to social protocol, transportation and infrastructure in US and Chinese cities and
transparency in government that she experienced while visiting the Capitol in Washington, D.C. She returned to China after her year-long study.
12/11/2012 - 00:22
Dear members and friends of CSSC,

At the end of an active and productive year 2012 during which the CSSC has engaged in numerous challenging initiatives, we want to express our gratitude to all of you who have contributed to CSSC's success in many different ways as members, specialists, contributors, or Board members. We take this opportunity to extend to you all our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy Year 2013.
To provide a better service to the local community the CSSC office has moved to:
Pour offrir un meilleur service à la communauté locale le bureau CSSC a déménagé à:
Para ofrecer un mejor servicio a la comunidad local la oficina de CSSC se ha trasladado a:

Amherst Media
246 College Street
Amherst, MA 01002, USA

12/20/2012 - 15:50

We are happy to announce that Dr. Judi Aubel, founder and executive director of Grandmother Project, and a good friend of CSSC, was granted the Trust Women Hero Award 2012.
10/18/2012 - 21:12
Professor Jan Servaes, UNESCO Chair in Communication for Sustainable Social Change, University of Massachusetts Amherst, wrote an introductory article to the special issue on US-China Public Diplomacy which will be published as #5 in vol. 38 of Public Relations Review (December 2012). All articles are already available online.
For the detailed information of the article and the special issue, please clikck here.
12/17/2012 - 16:55
9 December 2012

Open letter to WCIT

Dear Secretary General Touré and WCIT-12 Chairman Al-Ghanim:

We, the undersigned members of civil society, are attending the ongoing World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12), both physically and remotely. We appreciate your efforts to engage with global civil society and trust that you will take this letter in the same spirit of constructive engagement.

We believe that openness and transparency should be the hallmark of any effort to formulate public policy. In the months approaching the conference, and in our experience at the WCIT so far, we have discovered that certain institutional structures continue to hamper our ability to contribute to the WCIT process in a meaningful and constructive manner.

Now that the conference is in session, we wish to call your attention to three immediate and pressing matters: the lack of any official standing to the public comments solicited prior to WCIT at the ITU's invitation; the lack of access to and transparency of working groups, particularly the working groups of Committee 5; and the absence of mechanisms to encourage independent civil society participation. We address these in detail below.
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