The largest event on volunteering and social innovations – the International forum «Volunteer of Russia 2017» took place on November 22-23, 2017 in Perm (Russia). More than 1300 participants and experts from 15 countries of the world gathered to solve problems in the field of volunteerism and seek innovative approaches and ideas. Why are we telling you this? Well, because ASK, represented by Joy and Steve, were invited to give presentations and facilitate a workshop there, that’s why!!

Since 2012, the Forum is an annual multi-component platform for exchanging experiences in implementing effective volunteer initiatives, strengthening cross-sector and inter-territorial cooperation of civil society institutions, developing long-term partnerships and positioning successful volunteer practices and social innovations. Important issues in the field of volunteering were discussed, such as volunteering development, social entrepreneurship, promoting of civil initiatives, inclusive volunteering, social cinema, etc.

The Program of the International forum «Volunteer of Russia 2017» was elaborated from relevant areas of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Of the 1300 participants and experts from 15 countries who contributed to the Forum, many were representatives of the UN, leaders of volunteering sectors and initiatives around the world, representatives of NGOs and volunteer-involving organizations like ASK All Special Kids, government officials, civil society, private sector and academia. Within the framework of the Forum, the International Conference #INFOCUS was held. There, were presented the main and numerous achievements in the field of volunteerism and social innovations in Russia and abroad.

At the opening of the Forum, the Governor of the Perm Krai, Maxim Reshetnikov, as well as the President of the National association for education development «Notebook of Friendship», Olga Zubkova, greeted and welcomed the participants very warmly, and set the open and compassionate tone for the forum.

For the first time the Chef de Cabinet of the Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) David A. Chikvaidze participated in the International event as an expert. The honored guest took part as the speaker of several sessions, describing how volunteers are such a crucial factor to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN said about this, that;
“The Global Goals are our only collective plan to make the world a better and more fair place. Volunteers play a key role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteers promote the exchange of world experience. In order to start your journey as a volunteer, as a first step it’s enough to turn off the water when you brush your teeth, turn off the extra light in the rooms”.

David A. Chikvaidze talked beautifully about the whole history of volunteerism development in Russia, and why he, as a United Nations representative came to Perm Krai because this region is leading in the development of so many socially significant practices.
In the course of the two-day Forum, numerous workshops, discussions, presentations, educational and inspirational sessions were held…it was such a hive of activity, and there was such a buzz in the place, that everyone got swept away by the energy!! We were able to learn about promoting social projects through the mass media, discover strategies for building constructive relationships with partners, and explore social projects in the field of culture and health.

On top of all that, there was even an award ceremony for the «LAMPA» International film festival of socially oriented short films, videos and social advertising!! Integrating the «LAMPA» International film festival as the bright culmination of the International forum «Volunteer of Russia» has now become somewhat of a tradition, and this ceremony of lights, music and celebration took place on the Friday night of November 23, 2017.

The film festival was filled with lots of creative and touching surprises. The Opening ceremony was performed by the inclusive studio-theater «Space of Love» where young people with disabilities play main roles. This was such a touching performance, and such a wonderful example of what society misses out on, when they do not include everyone!! In addition, we got to see screenings of the best films and the award ceremony, all facilitated by two Russian celebrity actors – Anton Bogdanov and Katerina Shpitsa. In 2017, more than 650 entries from 69 countries were submitted to the Selection Committee of the Festival, and the shortlisted candidates list of the «LAMPA» festival included filmmakers from Spain, Turkey, India, Iran, Belarus, Mexico, Columbia, Philippine and Russia. Throughout the whole forum and film festival, simultaneous or consecutive translation, mostly from bright young university students, allowed Joy and Steve and all the other International guests to enjoy, learn, teach and participate in everything the forum had to offer.

Everybody was impressed by the high level of organization, and attention to detail at both the «LAMPA» International film festival, and the International forum «Volunteer of Russia 2017». David A. Chikvaidze, the Chef de Cabinet of the Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) complimented highly the level of preparation and content of the film festival, and he even made a proposal to organize the «LAMPA» at the UNOG in 2018 just before the International Volunteer Day!

We were most impressed by what we saw at the forum, from the level of engagement of all the hard-working staff and volunteers, to the motivation and persistence of all the representatives of all the various organizations, all dedicated to making the biggest impact they could in the world of volunteerism. A huge thanks goes out to all of the volunteers who personally helped us with translations etc, and to the organizers for inviting us. We came away inspired and energized and with great hope for the future!!

Related info

Organizers: the Perm Krai Government, Perm center for volunteerism development, National association for education development «Notebook of Friendship» in partnership with the Ministry of economic development of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Organizing Committee:
Petropavlovskaya St., 185
614068
Perm, Russia
Tel: +7 (495) 241-26-97 (ext. 108), contact person – Vera Zubkova
Website: www.dobrovolec-rf.ru, www.lampakino.ru
E-mail: info@dobrovolec-rf.ru, info@lampakino.ru

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