STC International Forum: all part of the same family!
During the week of Oct 20-23, Lisbon hosted the STC International Forum, a weekend filled with community connections, workshops sessions covering a wide range of topics. These included effective communications, the importance of core teams, exploring tensions, corporate engagement, measuring impact, and much more! Although we sometimes wear various colours of T-shirts, run different kinds of projects, we all share the same values, and strive to transform our cities and neighbourhoods. We are all part of the same family!
- Community Dinner: it all starts by serving
Participants of the Forum had the opportunity to participate before the start of the event in STC Portugal famous “Community Diner”. The project was launched with the support of the European Commission a few years ago and in partnership with a variety of charities that work to assist the homeless. Over 50 STC volunteers from around the world served around 100 people that day: socially vulnerable people and those who help them. Although they are not usually on the same side of the fence, they were able to dine together, sharing food and life stories. We were all pleased to see that the project had finally been reinstated and our guest were delighted to meet again after the long months of Covid.
- State of the movement: “We are here, we are together, and we are moving”
On the first day of the Forum, we were welcomed by Alfredo Abreu, our host from STC Portugal. He reminded us, the real endeavor is to bring people together. Indeed, looking back at Portugal history, the great explorations would have never been achieved without the Arab contribution to Geography and Navigation, the Italian trade inspiration, the Jewish financing, etc, and nowadays connecting people is no less important than exploring the oceans. This is exactly what Serve the City International does by bringing together the different pieces of the mosaic!
Then, Carlton Dean, our CEO and founder, spoke about the current state of our movement. The presence of 100 people from 25 cities is proof that “We are here, we are together, and we are moving “. During his speech, he introduced the theme of this year’s Forum: Build Your Core! “The bright future of STC around the world is not when we have great social media, although we want that; it’s not when City Leaders know and support each other, although we want that; but it’s when City Leaders have strong Core Teams, and when Core Teams throughout the movement are connected and all of us feel like we’re on the same team.”
- Shared social concerned: Environment, key to engage younger generation
In the plenary session, our director, Nicolas Duprey, was invited to speak about the environment, a major social concern for the younger generation. Today, 84% of people aged 16 to 25 suffer from eco-anxiety and now that the tangible effects of global warming are visible to all, this could lead to eco-paralysis. On the contrary, “we need to act now by bringing more sustainability into our different projects and develop more projects that are geared towards environmental preservation.” This is also “one of the keys to engage the younger generation, crucial for the future of our movement, and volunteering as a whole.” Indeed, it is usually an easy first step into volunteering, which then leads to a wider range of projects and actions that have a positive impact on our neighbourhoods. “Environmental protection is everyone’s business and can also create new solidarity in our districts. Through our different projects we need to raise awareness and encourage a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle.”
- Rookies at the Forum: a positive feedback & energy for the future!
This year, 3 recruits from 2021 attended the Forum along with our director. Although they are rather new to the charity, they are already very involved particularly on various subjects such as the environment, IT or social integration. Check out their feedback on their first participation in the International Forum:
“It was such a special moment to meet like-minded people from across the globe and all their backgrounds. You feel that each of us are part of something bigger. There should be a serve the city in each town, one day it’ll be it.”
“The STC international forum was a beautiful display of global unity towards making the world a brighter place. Each city and region had unique issues and solutions to their problems ranging from feeding/housing Ukrainian refugees to even finding employment for at risk immigrant Sri Lankan workers to directly support their families at home. We learned not only how to help more but also how to keep it sustainable with guided brainstorms for attaining grants and CSR programs. Truly an inspiring event that I was pleased to take part in.”
Photo credits: leo.estrellagraphy #STC2022Lisbon