The refugee crisis, innovation and the changing economy are not only priorities for the current Dutch Presidency of the EU, but also the key challenges that will be addressed over three days during the European Foundation Centre’s 27th Annual General Assembly and Conference in Amsterdam next week. Over 600 philanthropic leaders and representatives from international NGOs, academia, business, and policymakers will tackle and try to find solutions to the most important societal issues that are relevant to the future of Europe and the world at large.
A recent European Foundation Centre survey of its members and other philanthropic organisations looked to ascertain what they see as the most critical issues in terms of the refugee crisis and how they plan to address them. Closer collaboration was key, with 80% of the foundations who responded stating that they would be interested in working with other foundations and almost 60% willing to pool resources to address these issues. Several of the conference sessions will focus on the refugee crisis, and delegates wishing to work on the issue together will be able to meet and discuss joint projects in a pre-packed customisable refugee shelter, which will be assembled by volunteers on Wednesday, 25 May.
To successfully tackle global challenges, institutional philanthropy needs to work both together and in conjunction with other stakeholders from civil society, government and the corporate. Indeed we are seeing that the refugee crisis in particular has spurred increasing numbers of foundations to develop joint initiatives or work in networks and coalitions.
The conference features some 25 plenaries, parallel sessions and poster talks with more than 60 high-profile speakers. Eminent keynote speakers include Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Chair of the European Cultural Foundation and UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, Kristalina Georgieva, European Commission Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources and Kajsa Ollongren, Deputy Mayor and Alderman to the City of Amsterdam.
As well as the opportunity to hear and learn from a diverse array of visionaries, experts and practitioners, the conference provides delegates with the chance to experience philanthropy first hand through guided site visits to local projects and evening networking events in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas.
The conference aims to be as sustainable as possible. This year the event is almost paperless with all the relevant information and publications loaded on a brand new app. Delegates will be provided with sustainable meals, bags made from recycled KLM uniforms and refillable ‘Join-the-Pipe’ bottles to encourage them to drink Amsterdam tap water instead of using plastic bottles. Activities and accommodation have also been planned to allow delegates to get around on foot or by train, tram or ferry.