SEE Youth for European Year of Volunteering 2011

This was one of the biggest events in the Balkans in the frame of the European Year of Volunteering 2011. It was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina on 20-25 June, hosted by the SEEYN (South Eastern European Youth Network) with support of the CoE's European Youth Foundation, the European Commission's Youth in Action Programme and the OSCE mission in BiH.

The 4-day seminar was attended by more than 80 participants from various civil society organizations from South East Europe, young volunteers and those interested to learn more about volunteer policies in the region. The main purpose of this seminar was to unite at a common table parties interested in voluntary policies in the South East European region and enable them to share experience, good practice and knowledge on the implementation of these policies, as a tool to strengthen youth policies, youth work, social cohesion in Europe and to promote intercultural dialogue between young people across Europe.
A panel at the opening conference on June 21st was attended by representatives of the OSCE in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Delegation of the European Community, the Polish Embassy in Sarajevo as well as representatives of the SEEYN network. Also present at the seminar were representatives from France Bénévolat - France, European Volunteer Centre (CEV) - Belgium, PILnet - Global Network for Public Interest Law - Hungary, International Association for Volunteer effort (IAVE) - America, Salto-SEE - Slovenia and the TACSO office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the 4-day seminar guests and participants had the opportunity to discuss the scope and initiatives of the European Year of Volunteering 2011, with a focus on the South East region. Other topics of discussion were: the concept and practice of volunteering in the region, the legal framework for volunteering and the economic value of volunteering in private companies, comparing the latter with examples from different countries of Europe and America.
Beyond Barriers Association was also present at this event, as a partner of the SEEYN network. BB presented the launch of the Local Voluntary Service Centre of Tirana – the first volunteer centre in Albania – as an example of good practice and ongoing development as well as improvement of the image of volunteering in Albania. LVS's coordinator, Irena Topalli, after introducing to participants the initiative of the Local Voluntary Service, made a presentation of the services it offers and also spoke about the initiative to draft a law on volunteering in Albania.