March 5, 2012
BEST WISHES FOR 2012!! A REPORT TO OUR MEMBERS FROM THE WORLD PRESIDENT
Dear Friends and Colleagues, I extend to you my best wishes for the New Year and wish to take this opportunity to report to you on the work of IAVE in 2011 and our plans for the year ahead.
Our Work in 2011
I wish you all had as great a year as IAVE did in 2011!
In January we convened in Singapore our 21st World Volunteer Conference, an unparalleled record of conferences dating back to 1970. It was, we believe, the first major NGO-driven global event of this 10th anniversary year, just as our conference in Amsterdam was in January 2001 to kick-off the International Year of Volunteers.
In partnership with the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre and with active support of the Government of Singapore and of major global corporations, we convened volunteer leaders from some fifty countries from all regions of the world.
We stood together in solidarity, outside whatever differences might separate our countries, unified in our belief in the inherent value of volunteering:
- as a way to address the world’s most pressing human, social and environmental challenges;
- as a way to empower and enable people to lead healthy, fulfilling and productive lives; and,
- as a way to reinforce the ongoing quest for peace and justice for all people.
- The momentum created in Singapore carried IAVE and our members in 70 countries through a series of activities designed to celebrate this 10th anniversary year. These included:
- our first ever regional volunteer conference in the Arab Nations;
- a significant gathering of volunteer leaders in Africa to consider how the story of Africans volunteering to build strong, sustainable communities can be shared with the rest of the world;
- our 13th biennial Asia-Pacific regional volunteer conference; and,
- completion of our landmark research project on corporate volunteering, the first global research on how global companies are encouraging and supporting the volunteer involvement of their workers in their communities.
It also was our great honor to participate in the planning and conduct of the Global Volunteering Conference in Budapest, working in support of our sponsoring colleagues, UNV and the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent.
We were active participants in the Assembly meetings and seminars of the European Volunteer Centre and the 64th UN/DPI NGO conference. We were invited to the 66/67th UN General assembly and the 10th Anniversary of IYV program where I shared the stage with Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator UNV, and Maria Luisa Chavez, Chief of the NGO Relations-UNDPI to reflect on the impact of IYV+10.
Finally, at year’s end, we sponsored, in partnership with Partners of the Americas, the second World Youth Volunteer Summit in Barranquilla, Colombia – just as, ten years ago, we ended the International Year of Volunteers with the first youth summit in Tokyo. In a bit of audacious forward planning, we even announced our intention to organize the third youth volunteer summit ten years from now, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of IYV!
I am grateful to all of the many people who made this work possible. They include:
- Tan Chee Koon of Singapore, former IAVE board member, for her dedicated leadership for the 21st World Volunteer Conference;
- Patricia Nabti, our regional representative board member, for the first Arab Nations regional IAVE conference;
- Dr. Tuesday Gichuki and Agnetta Nyalita of NAVNET in Kenya for their excellent work in organizing the African regional meeting and producing a comprehensive report from it; • Yoonae Park of Volunteer 21 in Korea for her leadership for the 13th IAVE Asia-Pacific Regional Volunteer Conference;
- Mark Molloy and Daniel Buritica, our two youth board members, for their work in support of the 2nd IAVE World Youth Volunteer Summit;
- Sam Santiago of American Airlines, our corporate representative on the board, for his leadership of the Global Corporate Volunteer Council.
Partners of the Americas and, particularly, Matt Clausen, Vice President for Partnerships and Programs, were excellent partners with which to do the World Youth Volunteer Summit. They brought us to Barranquilla, Colombia and into partnership with UNINORTE, one of Colombia’s leading universities, for a tremendously successful event.
We are deeply grateful for the support we received from our corporate partners, listed below, that supported our programs throughout the year. It is absolutely true that we could not have achieved so much without not only their financial support but also their active participation.
I also want to thank our the staff consultants – Kathi Dennis, Sarah Hayes, Anthony Carlisle and Kenn Allen. Without their dedication, all of our effort could not have produced such great results.
Looking Ahead to 2012
The IAVE board of directors, a diverse group of volunteer leaders from fifteen countries, representing every region of the world, is currently completing development of a new strategic plan for the next three years.
Central to that plan is our commitment to carry forward the work that we began in 2011:
- We will continue our commitment to convene the World Volunteer Conference every two years as well as regional conferences and youth volunteer gatherings.
- In 2012, we will launch a new network of National Volunteer Centers, offering them a new way to work together and learn from and support one another.
- Continuing our work with Partners of the Americas, we will launch RED2021, a new virtual network to enable youth volunteer leaders and their organizations to connect with one another.
- Building on the Global Corporate Volunteer Research Project, we will expand our roles as knowledge leader and as connective tissue for companies committed to engaging their employees as volunteers in the community.
- We will sustain our commitment to work in partnership with Dr. Lester Salamon at Johns Hopkins University in promoting adoption by governments of the ILO manual on measurement of the amount, type and value of volunteering in their countries.
- We will seek partners and sponsors to work with us to develop a global volunteer awards scheme to recognize the enormous contributions made by volunteers and the organizations they serve, thus sustaining the visibility given to volunteering by IYV and by this 10th anniversary celebration.
- We look forward to continuing our active, mutually beneficial partnership with UNV and, through it, with the broader United Nations, supporting their efforts to gain the attention and commitment of all governments, calling on them to make the investment required to ensure the health and vitality of volunteering in their countries.
The Importance of What We Do
One of the primary conclusions of our Global Corporate Volunteering Research Project was that there is no single “best way” that corporate volunteering happens.
Rather, it described corporate volunteering as a “big tent,” drawing on the image of a circus that has many acts, many specialties, many skills all happening within the same broad framework.
Exactly the same thing can be said about volunteering. Think of what all of us do, what we are joined in doing by our colleague organizations throughout the world, what is done by the millions of people who volunteer every day.
That work is a reflection of the diversity of humanity. It is work done in response to both the most local and most global of problems. It is work motivated by our spiritual and political beliefs, by the values of our culture and our families, by our seeking for greater fulfillment in our lives, by our desire to connect with one another and to exercise our power to make a difference in the lives of others.
In that diversity is our strength. We share in common a belief in the power of volunteering to change lives, solve problems and build a better future for all. But we translate that shared belief into a myriad of actions that, like the small rivulets that run together to create mighty rivers, collectively are changing the world.
Working with a distinctive global perspective, IAVE is the connective tissue through which volunteer leaders worldwide can share their experiences, challenges and innovations, drawing inspiration and support for their work.
Together, with you, we are the global network that promotes, supports and celebrates volunteering in all of the many ways it happens throughout the world.
Thank you for your work and for being part of IAVE. I wish you a Happy New Year.
Kang-Hyun Lee, Ph.D.
(Photo: Ludie Cochrane)