All of us at the Secretariat have been getting ready this week for the biggest event of the year – our annual conference!
Hopefully you will all have seen the programme by now, but click here if you haven’t yet. Furthermore, here you can find a map showing the venues and points of interest for attendees. Similarly to last year, we will be holding our Annual General Meeting just prior to the official opening of the conference – and we are really looking forward to seeing our members for this. We will be holding elections for the newest members of the Board – a couple of Board Members’ terms are coming to an end – and also have important issues to address regarding Volonteurope’s future endeavours. We welcome input from our members, so it will be very valuable to have as many as possible there.
The conference opening, taking place at SOLIDAR, will be from 17:00 onwards. We will register guests for the first day (attendees will need to register again on 31 October at the EESC due to their strict security requirements), and disperse refunds for registration. The Monday evening will feature opening speeches, and also a special screening of the film Yes We Fuck, which we are very proud and excited to include in our conference. This will be followed by discussion and some fantastic food provided by the refugee-run catering service, #WeExist. And, of course, it will be an opportunity for lots of us to meet for the first time!
The conference workshops for the Tuesday are now finalised, and we are excited to welcome Roma Education Fund from Romania, MONDO from Estonia, Yeesi from Finland, Sex Matters Too from the UK, LGL from Lithuania, Partnerë për Fëmijët from Albania, CATAPA from Belgium and Emfasis Foundation from Greece. They will be presenting a number of workshops covering themes ranging from rights to personal autonomy and healthy relationships, rights to housing, to gender identity, citizenship and others. A few of those presenting workshops are Volonteurope members already, but we are especially happy to be able to meet and work with CATAPA, MONDO, Yeesi and Roma Education Fund. The conference always provides a great space for bringing together Volonteurope members with external partners, and we hope that like last year, lots of interesting discussions will be prompted by the workshops.
The conference will be accompanied by the annual report, which shares the same title and reflects the themes of the conference – focusing on young Europeans’ access to rights. Many of the organisations facilitating workshops have also contributed to the report, so we would like to extend our thanks to them. We will present the findings of our report on the last day of the conference, wherein we will invite feedback and discussion. The report has been written by our Policy and Advocacy Manager, Laura de Bonfils, and Louise King, our Policy and Strategy intern, and Louise will also present the report at the conference on the Tuesday afternoon. We will distribute the report at the conference, and will publish it on the website after incorporating the comments of the conference attendees.
Now all that’s left is for Monday to come round and the conference to start! See you next week!