On Friday, 8 December 2017, the conference ‘Building the Culture of Voluntarism’ was held in the Assembly Hall of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The conference was organised in order to bring together the biggest voluntary centres and individuals who organise voluntary work.
The introductory speeches were held by: Mia Strajin, MP of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Ognjen Cvjetićanin, member of the City Council in charge of sports and young people, Vukašin Grozdanović, coordinator of the ‘OPENS 2019’ project, and Milica Rašković, coordinator for participation of the ‘Novi Sad 2021 – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation. They shared their personal experiences in voluntary work, followed by lectures on forms of voluntary work, voluntarism, and sense of belonging to a community. Some of the topics were ‘Voluntary camps as a form of voluntary work’, ‘Erasmus+ as a possibility for voluntary work for young people’, ‘Local voluntary service as a form of voluntary work’, and ‘Voluntary work in institutions’. The conference also featured numerous workshops that discussed promotion and development of the culture of voluntarism, legal frames for voluntary work, and workshops about innovative practices in voluntary work.
‘With the series of high quality activities, we move towards the year of the title, we strengthen our relations, and we raise everything we have achieved so far to a higher level. The goal of this conference is to create a unique voluntary service in Novi Sad for all citizens, together with the ‘OPENS 2019’ and ‘Novi Sad 2021’ teams. Therefore, the two teams will jointly work on establishing the Novi Sad Voluntary Service as something that will last even after the title years. I believe that we will be excellent partners on this project, with the common goal of building the culture of voluntarism’, said Ognjen Cvjetićanin, member of the City Council in charge of sports and young people.
‘We have showed that when we share resources and when, as two capitals, we work together, we can establish permanent mechanisms in order to improve youth policy in Novi Sad. For us, it is important that the Novi Sad Voluntary Service is part of the youth policy. Our goal is to improve the system and create mechanisms so that young people can see improvements made by the system which exists to serve them’, said Vukašin Grozdanović, coordinator of the ‘OPENS 2019’ project, during his address to the audience.
Milica Rašković stressed the importance of the ideological and cultural heritage of voluntary work in our country, and expressed optimism regarding the link between voluntary projects and new generations. Ms Rašković underlined that the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation pays close attention to projects that have a pronounced element regarding the participation of citizens, thus paying attention to fostering the culture of dialogue.
‘Voluntary service is a platform that fosters the culture of voluntarism, as well as the culture of dialogue, and thus the culture of life. We have to learn to live together by respecting and acknowledging diversity, by respecting the needs of others, and by fostering empathy in helping others’, said Milica Rašković.
One of the participants of the conference was Carlos Santos, who spoke about the voluntary practice in a European Youth Capital, as a representative of the ‘Braga 2012’ project, one of the most successful European Youth Capitals.
‘At this moment, we can see an integrated approach to culture and young people. It is a rare thing in Europe that one city has two titles, so we closely follow the investments and steps during these two processes, and we have great expectations from both capitals’, said Mr Santos. Aleksandra Stachura from Poland presented the practice and volunteer model of the ‘Wrocław 2016’ European Capital of Culture.
The Novi Sad Voluntary Service (NVS) is a platform for organising voluntary work, created as an initiative of the European Youth Capital 2019 and European Capital of Culture 2021, and the motive for creating the service is the need to have a volunteer staff during the implementation of the activities of the capitals.
Novi Sad Voluntary Service – firstname.lastname@example.org