Volunteering Is a Value – International Conference in Veszprém

Volunteering is one of the pillars of the VEB2023 programme: the value-creating work of the "Ragyogók – The Shinies" volunteer team, established in 2020 under the auspices of the programme, has already contributed to the success of the Hungarian Motion Picture Festival, the Street Music Festival and the Filmpicnic events. Indeed, this well-tested initiative greatly contributed to the choice of venue for the volunteer conference.

From May to November 2021, Hungary holds the six-month Presidency term of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. As part of the tenure programme, our Minister without portfolio for Families and her office decided to organise an international conference on volunteering. To our great pride and joy, the city of Veszprém was chosen to host an important part of the event on 6 November 2021. With over fifty volunteers from 18 European countries, the engaging session entitled "Volunteering Is a Value" was a great opportunity for volunteer organisations involved in the preparation of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme to present their work.

An even greater source of honour for us as hosts is that 2021 marks a triple milestone in the volunteer movement - the 20th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, the 10th anniversary of the European Year of Volunteers, and the interrelated Hungarian Year of Volunteering.

Gyula Porga, Mayor of the Municipal City of Veszprém, said in his welcome that there is a great effort to involve the population as much as possible in the events of the European Capital of Culture programme. "Voluntary work helps a lot to make all Veszprémers feel the ECoC programme their own," he said, adding: "in Veszprém, volunteering has very strong traditions."

Presenters and focal points of the conference included:

• Ildikó Rózsás, the representative of “2021 Hungarian Year of Volunteering”, a year-long celebration of volunteers and volunteering in Hungary. She is also the key principal of Kaptár National Youth Service Nonprofit Ltd. She believes: Volunteering connects you to others.  


• Dr Edit Kővári, Associate Professor, University Representative of Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture introduced Pannon Community Hub (Pannon közTÉR in Hungarian) opened in October 2021. It is a real meeting place for communities without borders.  


• The leader of Cool Launch, the operating youth institution of the University of Pannonia is Laura Fazekas. Their aim is to inspire the young generation with tematic workgroups and many volunteer opportunities.  


• Rita Kandikó, chairperson and international project coordinator represented the Fekete Sereg Association founded in 1997. The association’s aim is to promote the interests of the young living in the village at regional, national and international levels. The target groups are diverse: they have students, unemployed people, minorities (roma), disadvantaged and handicapped people etc.  


• Mónika Jelinkó, the leader of Outreach and capacity building of ECoC Veszprém 2023 talked about a superb project, Gen.Veszprém. There are three key words connected to this Veszprém-Balaton 2023 supported project: Community building-Culture-Veszprém.  

• Réka Széplaki, volunteer coordinator of ECoC VEB2023 had a talk on our volunteer programme slogan: ʺLet’s shine together!”. The main target of the programme is creating a sustainable system which could operate on after 2023 with Ragyogók (the Beam Team or The Shinies - our cherished volunteers) and enable organisations to be professionals in volunteer managenent. 


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