It’s been over a year since World Café Europe submitted an application to European Commission’s EACEA Europe for Citizens Programme (Action 1: Active Citizens for Europe) to bring adults aged 50+ together using participatory dialogue to explore how to promote active ageing throughout Europe.
Eight months ago World Café Europe received the official notification of the acceptance of our European Voices for Active Ageing proposal. Work began immediately to plan for the start of the project in January 2012. Now after six months of preparation, the first fruits of World Café Europe’s cooperation with six European partners took place in Bilbao (Spain) with great success last week.
But the story of this project began almost four years ago at a Visioning Council which Bolton Anthony of Second Journey was organizing in Hamburg. I assisted in the design of a World Café which was part of this Visioning Council. I also did graphic recording of a number of the presentations made during the event. Dr. Janet Hively was one of those speakers. Janet admired the graphic recording which I later sent to her with an invitation to come to Munich next time she travelled to Europe. A year later she was travelling in Europe again. During a dinner at my home in Munich, we talked about her passion of fostering adult leadership. Of course I spoke about my passion for participatory dialogue .Why not address the issue of Active Ageing using the World Café? The seed for the European Voices for Active Ageing was planted that evening in Munich.
The goal of the long-term strategy of World Café Europe e.V. is a Europe in which citizens are actively involved in finding solutions to tackle the major challenges of our times. Towards this end, it organizes World Cafés all across the EU on a broad spectrum of topics with targeted audiences. The European Voices for Active Ageing project aims to be a driving force to promote an optimistic approach to ageing, offering fresh opportunities and new perspectives for society.
In partnership with the association Old’Up based in Paris, WCE organized a prototype World Café to enable older adults aged 70 to 95 to discuss their views on active ageing. Based on this successful experience and inspired by the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity, WCE is sharing insights developed through this World Café with 6 age-friendly European organizations. The ideas of 50+ adults on the topic of active ageing will provide a platform to offer a fresh perspective on the opportunities of the demographic shift which is currently taking place throughout the European Union.
The European Voices for Active Ageing project will organize 6 thematic cafés in 6 European countries on 6 different active ageing topics. The thematic cafés will focus on the following active ageing challenges: health, age-friendly communities, wellness, civic engagement, work + life planning, creative arts + expression , intergenerational fairness and social innovation. Each thematic café will invite 80 aged 50+ stakeholders of different nationalities to participate in 4-hour conversations on these topics. The project aims to create aspace for intercultural and participatory dialogue for 50+ adults to discuss active ageing and, as a result, formulate their opinions on these key challenges facing Europe. The ideas and suggestions from each thematic café will be collected, analyzed and summarized in order to propose concrete policy recommendations to policy-makers at the local, national and European level.