The Unsung Hero Conference – September 2020

17./18.09.2021 in Erfurt, Germany

The Unsung Hero Conference brought together participants from all the countries and partner organisations of the Unsung Hero Dialogues Project, from local German participants to internationals from the four corners and many centres of Europe, and beyond.

For over two days of programme with accompanying additional activities in and around Erfurt, the conference brought together the overarching themes of the Unsung Hero Dialogues (UHD) Project – the working situation and environment in civil society, the diverse range of activities in civil society which makes it such a challenge to understand and define civil society, and ways how to best help the workers in it.

Starting with an introduction to the UHD international survey on the labour conditions in civil society and its outcomes, the conference was the space for discussions of more specific issues and proposals for change. While doing so, we were joined by Ms Franziska Baum, member of the Thuringian Parliament, and Ms Katharina Schenk, State Secretary for Municipal Affairs in the Thuringian Ministry for the Interior, to discuss the specific case of Thuringia, and delve into some of the underlying questions and needs for change in current systems of education in general, and of how democratic values are being taught in Europe.

Following these discussions, all UHD partner organisations presented the work they had done over the past 18 months during the 46 activities and events that were organized during the project life and discussed their local realities with plenty of questions and comments from the audience. Subsequently, the participants split up to discuss more in-depth issues based on their interests, from labour conditions to the range and tension that exists between volunteering and paid work, and to the limitations put upon civil society actors by current frameworks of funding.

Many interesting exchanges and conversations were had and taken with them into the concluding open space to develop new follow up ideas based on the activities of the previous days.

The partner consortium of the Unsung Hero Dialogues is:
– CULTURE GOES EUROPE (CGE) – Soziokulturelle Initiative Erfurt e.V. (coordinator)
– Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe (DARE) Network
– Jaan Tonissoni Instituut MTU
– Associazione Promozione Sociale LaFenice Associazione Sportiva
– Institutul Intercultural Timisoara, UMAR – Uniao de Mulheres Alarnativae Resposta Assiociacao
– United Societies of Balkans Astiki Etaireia
We would like to thank everyone who came to the many events all across Europe and who participated in the many discussions about these crucial topics.

For the UHD team,
Moritz Borchardt

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