Teaching community requires more than transmitting a set of skills or technical knowledge. It is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century. This paper contributes to the pedagogy of community in higher education through the analysis of university extension in Brazil. Three elements are crucial to the success of the Brazilian university extension model to teach community. The first is the historical commitment to ethical and political principles and values aimed at social justice, inclusion, and transformation, as well as a shared critical understanding of the complexity of social, economic, and political inequality. Second, the method is derived from critical theory, primarily in the form of Freirean pedagogy, as well as participant and action research. Third, the institutionalization of university extension through the Ministry of Education has provided the necessary means and support at the local, regional, and national levels. Latin America has a unique model of university extension that was developed in the twentieth century, with significant contributions from student movements. Liberation theology and Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy are also noteworthy historical undercurrents that have shaped Brazil’s 2012 National Policy of University Extension. Community is achieved through ongoing interactions based on reciprocity among faculty, staff, students, and the general public; the dialogical method; and the common goal and commitment of prioritizing the needs of socially excluded segments of the population.

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