Volunteering & Solidarity as a social capital of the city
International online conference
The conference took place 18-21 May 2021 and was hosted in an online environment. The aim of this international online conference was to promote wider and systemic social and economic dimensions and impacts of volunteering and solidarity activities in urban settings.
The conference brought together representatives of municipalities and organisations to promote Volunteering and Solidarity Projects as tools to support solidarity in action. This activity was initiated by the City of Ljubljana and Slovenska Filantropija, one of the biggest volunteering organisations in Slovenia, and was then broadened and fine-tuned in cooperation with the Slovenian NA and European Solidarity Corps Resource Centre.
Cities and municipalities try to support solidarity among their inhabitants in order to support social cohesion. This cross-sectoral cooperation is diverse and every community developed their own way of addressing the needs of inhabitants. The conference was exploring the existing practices of cross-sectoral cooperation in the cities and inspired building upon them.
• To inspire cities to engage in cross-sectoral cooperation to support solidarity and social cohesion.
• To provide space to showcase and learn from good practice examples of cross-sectoral projects that support solidarity and enhance social cohesion.
• To map out elements of approaches of engagement of cities for the support of volunteering and solidarity activities.
• To present all actions of the European Solidarity Corps programme and possible support.
• To build partnerships for future projects and other forms of co-operation and networking among participating organisations and cities.
After official opening of the conference, key note speaker, prof. dr. Renata Salecl inspired us with her with her story of solidarity. Followed by the round table of social capital that brought diverse views on solidarity in society, while opening up space for the exchange of ideas. Representatives of various sectors and organizations from this approach to promoting volunteering and solidarity in local environments participated in the round table as guests:
• Marjeta Lužnik, Slovenska Filantropija,
• Chris Welter, representative of the European Capital of Culture in Luxembourg,
• Markus Rebitshek, Volunteer Program Coordinator, EJBW Weimar, Germany,
• Simona Topolinjak, City of Ljubljana,
• Zorana Uzelac Bošnjak, Municipality of Zagreb, Croatia.
Jonathan Robertson acted as a researcher at this conference, reviewing the existing practices of the participants. Among them, an element of success and performance was identified at the conference, where representatives of organisations also presented their practices. A compendium of effective practices is coming as a result of the conference.
In the central part of the conference, the participants discussed the needs of individual sectors and common needs regarding the local environment. We presented various support mechanisms to the participants, including a presentation of the European Solidarity Unit program in the opportunities they offer.
We concluded the conference with legal action plans and planning for future projects. Space was also available for socialising and networking.
The conference program was prepared and implemented by a team of experienced international trainers and visually supported by a graphic designer.
More information about the conferences can be found here.