UNV participates in 2013 International Volunteering Expo

05 Dec 2013

The 2013 International Volunteering Expo kicked off on December 5, 2013 in Beijing. The expo was co-hosted by China Communist Youth League Beijing Committee, Beijing Volunteer Federation (BVF) and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), and steered by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme, and China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE). Mr. Richard Dictus, UNV Global Executive Coordinator, accompanied by UNDP China Country Director Mr. Christophe Bahuet and Deputy Country Director Mr. Patrick Haverman, UNV China Programme Officer Ms. Eirene Chen as well as Country Programme Assistant Ms. Xiaodan Zhang, and more than 500 participants from over 300 national and international volunteer organizations, were in attendance to discuss and exchange ideas and showcase volunteering achievements.

Themed on “Uniting the Power of Volunteering, Fostering the China Dream”, the expo set up 6 seminars to discuss international cooperation on volunteerism, environmental protection voluntary activities, construction of community based volunteering systems, corporate social responsibilities and volunteerism, youth volunteering, and Party members engagement in volunteering.

Mr. Richard Dictus, the Global Executive Coordinator of UNV, together with Ms. Zhao Jinfang, Secretary-General of the newly established China Volunteerism Federation, as well as several representatives from other organizations, delivered keynote speeches at the opening ceremony. In his keynote speech, Richard Dictus reiterated the importance and benefits of volunteerism, pointing out that “volunteerism is a two-way street, whose transformational power comes from its ability to inspire not only the communities that it benefits, but also the volunteers themselves”.  He praised the 32 years of effective cooperation between UNV and the Chinese government, encouraging China to work with UNV to promote a new generation of young leaders and to increase their participation in UN work through international UN volunteer assignments. He expressed appreciation for the ongoing partnerships with Beijing Youth League and Beijing Volunteers Federation, which strengthen civic engagement by supporting local volunteering organizations. He also emphasized the importance of south-south cooperation to build capacity through volunteerism and to transfer knowledge, and stressed that youth have an important role as agents of change. He called for deeper UNV’s partnerships with governments, NGOs, and other UN bodies to “increase the recognition of the contribution of young people to peace and development through volunteerism, ensure that youth voices are included in global dialogues about development, and help others create enabling environments for youth volunteering for peace and development”.

The expo also witnessed the official launch of the Chinese version of State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2011 issued by UNV. The report focuses on the universal values that motivate people over the world to volunteer for the common good and on the impact of volunteer action on societies and individuals.  As such, it suggests that volunteerism should be recognized as an essential component for the sustainable, equitable progress of communities and nations.

In the following Volunteering Fair, UNV booth attracted many visitors who come to the Expo. UNV China Office and UN National Volunteers introduced to visitors the specific work UNV has carried out and provided information on how to become a UN Volunteer and UN online volunteer.

In a rapidly changing environment, volunteerism is constant. At their core, societies need the values of trust, solidity and mutual respect which inspire all volunteers. Volunteer expo provides a platform for volunteers and volunteer organizations to discuss the trends, challenges and opportunities volunteerism faced today and gives Chinese society a perfect chance to deepen its understanding of volunteerism worldwide.