Championing Philanthropy showcases how institutional philanthropy improves lives through projects by its members, and brings to life a wide range of projects that have been devised and carried out by members of the European Foundation Centre’s Governing Council.
These projects aim to demonstrate to policymakers, the general public and visitors to Brussels alike the valuable work that is taking place in the philanthropic sector.
The exhibition itself is both visually and mentally stimulating. Visitors have the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in varied and thought-provoking projects that are particularly relevant to the world in which we find ourselves today. While projects are diverse, there are several common themes including: Refugees and Migration, Education, Social Development, Youth Empowerment, and Health.
“Guess who’s coming to dinner?” is a project with a unique approach to immigration and integration.
The project, promoted and supported by Fondazione CRT, was created by the Rete Italiana di Cultura Popolare (Italian Network of Folk Culture) and the migrant families who felt the desire to open up themselves and their homes to meeting and sharing, with no other stimulus than their willingness and desire to "work in a network": they offer a special family dinner, designed for those who have the "curiosity" to meet "another.". This simple intimate experience breaks down the walls of suspicion, created by a lack of awareness, and a fear of different cultures.
Something “magically” normal happens at the table: they talk about their children, school, work, cinema and music and discover that they are so similar; they become friends and continue to meet afterwards. With a simple dinner you start from Morocco to China, Romania to Argentina, from Afghanistan to Ethiopia, sharing and telling stories of journeys, places and people: this is the idea at the heart of the project.
“Guess who’s coming to dinner?” was launched during the 2011 edition of the International Festival of Folk Oral Culture, with a communal dinner involving over 100 people united around one table in Piazza Carlo Alberto in the heart of Turin, the dinner was prepared by the migrant families who participate in the project.
It takes the form of a series of dinners in the private homes of migrant families and from this year also asylum seekers. The families open their homes to host a dinner for a group of people who are interested in learning about the culture, traditions and cuisine of their country of origin.
Those who express their interest can make a booking, and the day before the dinner they discover who will be the host family and their country of origin. Guests cannot choose their preferred country or cuisine, they are guided for a night and meet people that are as yet unknown to them. On the night of the dinner they go to the indicated address where a family opens the door and introduces the guests into their world: they could tell stories of the journey they took to get here, show their wedding photos or pictures of distant families but guests can also find themselves talking about their children who may go to school together, their favourite sports teams, work and plans for the future.
Each guest is welcome to contribute, at their discretion, to cover the expenses of the dinner.
There is much more at stake than just a dinner. There is the opportunity to build real cultural policy from the bottom up thanks to the meeting, the proposal, and the mutual recognition.
The “Championing Philanthropy” Exhibition is on at Philanthropy House in Brussels until the 31st December