Thanks to a number of years of successful cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung in Berlin, Volonteurope and Volunteering Matters are delighted to have partnered with the European Solidarity Centre (www.ecs.gda.pl) in Gdańsk, Poland, where we will be delivering our next annual European meeting in the context of a strategic EVS event, entitled “Solidarity in challenging times: the role of youth, volunteering and mobility in building an inclusive Europe”. The event will take place on 3-4 December 2018 and the registration for the conference will open shortly.

The European Solidarity Centre is a state-of-the-art cultural institution that honours one of the greatest civic successes of the European history towards the end of the 20th century – the victorious Solidarność (Solidarity) movement, which led to the fall of communism in Europe and created even more solid foundations for European solidarity. The Centre is also an educational, research and academic centre, as well as a public space for citizens from Europe and all over the world who feel responsible for the development of democracy: a place where solidarity and citizenship are put into practice.

We feel very honoured to have been able to establish our working relationship with the Centre and continued support from Allianz Kulturstiftung, as we believe that the ethos and mission of the European Solidarity Centre chimes extremely closely with the ambitions of our strategic EVS project as well as the mission and vision of Volonteurope. The theme of the conference comes at a very timely moment when we look at what is happening across Europe, and particularly, how the political events taking place – Brexit, nationalist-leaning successes in elections across EU Member States, the European Elections in May 2019, just to mention some of them – can potentially impact on the capability of young and older people across Europe to volunteer, be mobile as active citizens, and contribute to strengthening the European identity. This identity is crucial in these challenging times and we are very aware that providing young people, as well as people of older ages, with the possibilities of volunteering in other countries, will continue to contribute to protecting the values of the European project.

The venue of the European Solidarity Centre and the city of Gdansk, the cradle of solidarity movement for the whole of Europe and beyond, means that we are locating our European meeting in a highly strategic location, which will have tremendous visibility and impact on the young and other participants of the event. We will be tackling the issues of youth, volunteering, mobility and inclusive Europe, which already in the context of what might happen after Brexit and the impact on the future of mobility, as well as the successor to the Erasmus+ and other European funding programmes post 2020, are all pertinent debate themes.

Our European meeting will be preceded by the celebration of the third edition of the European Citizenship Awards, which are delivered jointly by Volonteurope and European Civic Forum, and which to date have celebrated many active citizens and initiatives who made a tremendous contribution to the values of European solidarity and inclusion. The Awards will be held at the European Solidarity Centre on the night of 2 December 2018.

We will launch the event registration shortly, so do look out for a communication from us!