Highlights from EFC Conference 2018 “Culture Matters: connecting citizens, uniting communities”

Brussels, 8 June 2018 – Right in the middle of the European Year of Culture, over 600 philanthropy professionals from 37 countries, representing some 316 different organisations came together to debate, listen to, and get inspired by the theme of this year’s European Foundation Centre annual conference: Culture Matters: connecting citizens, uniting communities

Perhaps the great challenge of Europe, or of the Europe in which we want to live, consists in reconciling two things that seem not reconcilable in principle: cultural diversity and political unity,” stated Massimo Lapucci, EFC Chair and Secretary General of Fondazione CRT. “Without cultural diversity, Europe will be impoverished… At the same time, as history taught us, without political unity Europe is condemned to destruction. Europe must be politically ONE and culturally plural.” (Click here for full speech).

The conference held on 29-31 May in Brussels was one of the many diverse events, activities and cultural happenings which took place during Philanthropy Week. These included:

  • a high-level meeting with policymakers, foundations and other stakeholders to explore ways of working together to create a single market for philanthropy in Europe,
  • three exciting conference plenaries with passionate, outspoken keynote speakers − Jan Goossens, Director, Festival de Marseille  /  Cem Mansur,Conductor, Music Director and Founder of the Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra  /  Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Croatian Minister of Culture  /  Martine Reicherts, Member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Luxembourg and former Director General for Education and Culture (DG EAC)  /  Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre  /  Lemn Sissay, author, poet and broadcaster,
  • over thirty sessions addressing different aspects of society, culture, today’s challenges and opportunities,
  • Walk and Talk” networking sessions,
  • a private visit to “From Tiepolo to Richter, dialogue in Europe” an exhibition organised by the King Baudouin Foundation featuring 100 great works from its collections and those of 14 other foundations across Europe (Musée du Cinquantenaire, 24 May30 September),
  • an EFC-hosted exhibition in Philanthropy House, showcasing a wide range of its members’ projects on improving social spaces and the restoration of buildings, parks, museums etc. (Philanthropy House, 10 May – 5 September)

At the Annual General Assembly which took place during the conference, EFC members voted on and approved the new composition of the EFC’s Management Committee and Governing Council, and the new Annual Review, presenting the key milestones of the EFC’s 2017 journey towards its Strategic Framework, was launched.

Looking ahead, Lapucci said that “the main challenges for the philanthropic sector include the creation of a Single Market for philanthropy – perhaps beginning with a European Year for Philanthropy – the introduction of guarantee funds for projects with a social impact, and the use of Big Data for the non-profit sector.


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