EFC 2017 Conference: Courage to re-embrace solidarity in Europe
Can philanthropy take the lead?”

31 May – 2 June 2017 – Warsaw, Poland

Brussels, 9 May 2017 – Taking place in Warsaw from 31 May until 2 June, the European Foundation Centre’s 28th Annual General Assembly and Conference, “Courage to re-embrace solidarity – Can philanthropy take the lead?” will convene more than 500 philanthropic leaders and representatives from foundations, not-for profit organisations, academia and policymakers.

Nowhere symbolises the 2017 theme quite like Poland – the cradle of the post-war solidarity movement in Europe. The roundtable talks which took place in the presidential palace next to the Bristol Hotel, one of the conference venues, led to free elections in June 1989 and provided a catalyst for anti-communist transitions in all other CEE countries (including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Prague). Decades later, there is a clear and urgent need for such solidarity once more. The conference will address some of the biggest challenges institutional philanthropy faces today, from climate change to migration to social justice and inequality.  During the three days in Warsaw participants and speakers will come together to learn from each other and exchange ideas on finding solutions and forming partnerships to address these issues.

The conference opens with a keynote address by Professor Jerzy Buzek, Solidarity activist in the 1980s, Prime Minister of Poland (1997-2001) and President of the European Parliament (2009-2012) who will raise broad and provocative questions around solidarity in the past and today and philanthropy’s role and ways forward in facing the complex and shifting challenges our societies are facing. The conference’s three plenaries and more than twenty parallel sessions will tackle various facets of solidarity through speeches, discussion, interactive workshops, themed site visits and lively debates.

The three plenaries address:

“Solidarity was the obvious theme for our conference this year. Not only because we meet in Poland, a country which for many years has been a symbol of historic and monumental change that brought unity, solidarity, democracy and freedom to a divided Europe. We chose the theme of solidarity because we feel that the multiple challenges and problems we are facing today – climate change and migration, growing inequalities, poverty and discrimination and the ambivalent role of new technology and social media – require us to go to the heart of the problems and search for solutions rooted in basic human solidarity,” says Ewa Kulik-Bielinska, Chair of EFC and the Conference and Executive Director, Stefan Batory Foundation.  “At times like this when the fundamental values of European democracy are questioned in Poland, Hungary, Europe and throughout the world, it is our obligation, as champions of philanthropy committed to working for the wellbeing and progress of society, not to allow ourselves to be divided, walled in or fenced. Instead we must stand together and show solidarity in working for solutions that will strengthen democracy, civil societies and social justice and forge a strong community of responsibility for today’s issues.”

As well as the opportunity to hear and learn from a diverse array of social innovators, experts and practitioners, the conference evening networking events, and site visits, thanks to the active engagement of the members of Host Committee and the City of Warsaw, will provide delegates with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich cultural life of the Polish capital, witness local philanthropy first-hand and learn more about civil society in Poland.  And new this year, participants can discover civic engagement projects from the CEE during an interactive event with local NGOs and activists.

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About the Conference

The EFC’s Conference is the largest international conference in philanthropy, engaging the European and global philanthropy sector to grapple with deep societal issues that are relevant to the future of Europe and the world at large, such as inequality, social injustice, and inclusive and participatory societies. This year the theme is “Courage to re-embrace solidarity in Europe – Can philanthropy take the lead?”

The conference offers a unique opportunity for over 500 heads and senior managers of major philanthropic organisations from across Europe and the world to meet with their peers, exchange know-how and experience, test new ideas, and form partnerships. Delegates benefit from the experience and insights of top-level keynote speakers who frame current topics and trends, and open up debate on institutional philanthropy’s role in these issues. For further information please visit:

 Conference venues

Hotel Bristol (Ignacy Paderewski, renowned pianist and Prime Minister of Poland during World War I, held the first Polish government session after independence in 1919 in the hotel, which subsequently also served as the seat of the government for a short time) and the Sofitel Victoria – both situated in the city’s cultural and historic centre.

 About the European Foundation Centre

The European Foundation Centre (EFC) is the platform of institutional philanthropy with a focus on Europe, but also with an eye to the global philanthropic landscape.

It is a network of foundations and philanthropic institutions committed to the development and promotion of institutional philanthropy in Europe and globally.

With the aim of being the voice of institutional philanthropy in Europe, the EFC promotes and communicates the value of institutional philanthropy to society thus contributing to an environment in which philanthropy can flourish. It serves as a hub of sector exchange and intelligence, to help its members increase the impact of their added value in society.

 The Host Committee of the EFC’s 2017 Annual Conference

The success of the conference depends on the vital contribution of the EFC’s members and other foundations in the host country.  The Committee comprises representatives from Europe’s most prominent foundations and philanthropic organisations in Poland: BGŻ BNP Paribas Foundation, City Handlowy- Kronenberg Foundation, Evens Foundation, Foundation for Polish Science, Orange Foundation, Polish-American Freedom Foundation, Stefan Batory Foundation, TechSoup Global, Unit for Social Innovation and Research – Shipyard.

The partner of the Conference is the City of Warsaw which has actively engaged in the organisation of the site visits, networking events and the presentation of the work of local NGOs

 Press contacts

Participation in the conference is complimentary for the media. If you would like to receive accreditation for the conference and/or interview one of the conference speakers, the organiser or the EFC’s Board or Chief Executive please contact:

International: Catherine Lennon  |  EFC  |  tel.: +32.2.512.8938  |  mob.: +32 485.66.05.98  |  email: [email protected]
Poland: Agnieszka Pietrzak-Kirkiewicz  |  Stefan Batory Foundation  | tel.: + 48.22.536.02.34  |  email: [email protected]