Confucius says: 'How delightful it is to have friends visiting us from afar.'
The final conference of IMPACT creating synergies between NGOs and the academic sector to measure and value the impact of international voluntary service in Europe and Asia took place in Qufu, China. More than 50 participants from Europe and Asia gathered in this historical town, which has witnessed the birth and educational achievements of Confucius, one of the greatest educators and philosophers in China.
The project’s main aim is to enhance the capacity of international voluntary service organisations to valorise the results of community-based projects while developing sustainable partnerships with actors from the formal education sector.
In the opening ceremony, Aijun Yuan, Principal of CSETC, firstly gave her welcome address as the hosting organisation. Matina Deligianni, President of CCIVS, then introduced the background and current trends of international voluntary service and appreciated the efforts that all the stakeholders spent in this project.
Aijun Yuan, Principal of CSETC Matina Deligianni, President of CCIVS
There followed a ceremony of awarding to the representatives of partners of the project and stakeholders, among which are CSETC, University of Salzburg (Austria), University Kebangsaan Malaysia (Malaysia), task force team members and young researchers. In addition, CSETC entitled 11 schools International Voluntary Service Bases in China.
Task Force Team representatives Young researcher representatives
CSETC International Voluntary Service Bases in China
Next, Victoria Lovelock, Director of CCIVS, made a brief speech on the history of CCIVS and the integrated introduction of the project IMPACT creating synergies between NGOs and the academic sector to measure and value the impact of international voluntary service in Europe and Asia.
One of the young researchers and documentarian, Mélissa Lakrout, shared her documentary and experience in China. Two young workers from CSETC, Annie Lv and Emma Fan continued sharing their experience and vision of IVS.
Last but not least, Yuran Liu (Irene), Director of CSETC, made the closure through the emphasis of the value and importance of this project and the development of IVS in China.
The conference was both intensive and productive. On the first day, Solidarités Jeunesses France, Network Voluntary Development Asia (NVDA) and CCIVS presented their previous projects which also focused on the investigation of impact of IVS. Dr. Sieglinde Weyringer from University of Salzburg explained the concept of research. Then together with Asst. Prof. Doris Padmini Selvaratnam from UKM, these two leading researchers in this project presented the general results and observations.
In the following day, different workshops were employed in order to further discuss the impact on three levels, that is, local community, personal development and global level. Moreover, the conference also concentrated on the reflection and improvement of the research methodology and the overall project.
In the final day, the working groups were divided to explore feasible future actions, which could be summarized into three mayor categories: CCIVS Research and Development, communication or visibility, seminars to present tools, train organisations and launch new campaign.
Apart from the busy workgroups at daytime, the final conference also offered vivid cultural activities at night, such as the appreciation of traditional music and dance while dining with the Lu culinary, one of the most prestigious culinary schools in China. On the intercultural evening, participants from more than 15 countries shared their specialties and traditions. It was a precious moment to experience different cultures. The finale was accompanied with the laughter and a popular Chinese song named Peng You (Friends).
On the 7th, participants joined in a city tour to visit 'San Kong', which literally means the Three Confucian (sites), that is, Temple of Confucius, Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion. These three sites have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. On the 8th and 9th, the Task Force Team members continued the evaluation meeting in the office of CSETC.
Task Force Team meeting in CSETC, Beijing
Peng you (friends), hope to see you again soon!
Please see below the YouTube video to listen to the song 'Peng You' with pin yin, English and Hmong translations: