From April 29 to May 4, in Vilanova i la Geltrú and Barcelona, the I International Forum ‘Volunteering in the Arab World – Challenges and Opportunities’ took place. The main goal of the meeting, organized by the Fundació Catalunya Voluntària-FCV with the support of the Diputació de Barcelona (Barcelona province governing body), was to create new opportunities for volunteering, mobility and intercultural learning.
During the forum, we worked to create a structure that would allow new voluntary, exchange and training projects, and to strengthen collaboration between civil society in Europe and in Arab countries. In addition, the meeting has also made it possible to identify some of the common challenges in the Arab countries as well as several opportunities for collaboration.
After the first days of the Forum, dedicated to workshops, presentations and work meetings, the participants moved from Vilanova i la Geltrú to Barcelona to present, at the ‘Fes un voluntariat al món àrab’ event, four initiatives of volunteering in Tunisia, Lebanon and Kuwait. On the last day of the Forum, the group was invited to the Plenary Session of the Vilanova i la Geltrú Town Hall by Mr. Jordi Medina, Councilor for Youth, Economic Development and Tourism of the city, before taking a guided tour at the Victor Balaguer Museum.
The meeting was meant to be a first step in favoring a stable collaboration between voluntary entities of the two territories, at both sides of the Mediterranean Sea. It has also served to find out more about the different initiatives and to start working together, in order to achieve common goals, such as the promotion and institutionalization of volunteering as a tool for personal development and for youth empowerment, which generates positive effects on society.
It has not been easy to organize this activity, especially due to the difficulties in obtaining visas. However, the objectives of the forum have been achieved, thanks to the commitment and contributions of our colleagues, representatives of voluntary organizations in Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco and Syria, and to the international team of the FCV, coordinated by Lluc Martí.
If you want to be part of the Secretariat of the forum, if you want to collaborate as Arabic interpreter, or if you want to receive more information about the forum and about volunteering opportunities in the Arab countries, do not hesitate to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.