Despite the uncertainty and tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the face of social and economic lockdowns, we have nevertheless been witnessing amazing acts of bravery, human kindness, and compassion, which express solidarity with fellow human beings. Volunteers – active citizens, supported by civil society organisations, as well as many simply self-organising, are working hard to reduce social isolation and loneliness of the most hard-hit, vulnerable community members, whilst keeping safe and following government and health advice.
However, as the pandemic restrictions are slowly being lifted and reliable testing and vaccinations are hopefully becoming accessible, people in vulnerable situations, communities, organisations, charities, NGOs, businesses of all sizes, will all need the support of governments and decision-makers at all levels.
What happens to the appreciation of the amazing volunteering effort we are seeing right now and the mobilisation in the not-for-profit sector? After all, the COVID-19 outbreak is a huge test of solidarity – political, financial, social and scientific – not only right now and in a few months’ time, but in the long-term. Will Europe pass this test and find shared solutions based on social justice and equality, solutions which will shape the future of Europe? These are the themes that we invite you to discuss, virtually, with participants from all corners of Europe.
Volonteurope is delighted to confirm the following contributors to the debate:
Keynote speaker: Paul Reddish, Chief Executive Officer, Volunteering Matters
- Kélig Puyet, Director, Social Platform, Belgium
- Heather Roy, Secretary General, Eurodiaconia
- Juan Ángel Poyatos, Founder and Director, Voluntare Network
- Dominik Kirchdorfer, President, European Future Forum
The virtual debate will provide ample space for questions and comments from the participants, to ensure as many voices as possible are heard in the conversations about the future of Europe.