Philea Forum 2023
The window of opportunity is narrowing to deal with the multitude of problems in the world and Europe. The Philea Forum 2023 – held from 23-25 May in Šibenik, Croatia – provided a critical chance for nearly 700 philanthropy and civil society professionals to come together to find new ways of collaborating to find solutions.
“We know there is a lot we need to do, that we need to do it better, and do it faster, but we know that a better tomorrow is possible if we do it together. A Europe we want, for the world we need,” said Delphine Moralis, CEO Philea, at the conference.
Amid the wide-ranging conversations that took place across the Forum, several concepts were constant threads throughout the three days of sessions and site visits:
- In the contexts of the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, the importance of supporting democracy was prominent in the discussions
- Evolving the relationship between funders and their partners as well as the importance of unrestricted funding were highlighted throughout the Forum
- Human rights and equality were named as essential elements of solutions to each and every one of the crises Europe and the world are facing now
The Role of Philanthropy in the Face of Current Crises
The interactive opening plenary kicked off with an exploration of public opinion by eupinions, an independent platform for European public opinion, on a range of issues impacting European society. In this context, participants were polled on the challenges vs. opportunities of philanthropy in advance of the EU elections in 2024. Participants were also polled on the climate crisis, with 88% saying the EU is not doing enough to combat climate change.
The opening keynote brought to the stage Marija Buric, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who said:
“Over recent years, we have taken specific measures to bring civil society closer to the heart of decision-making, where it belongs… Today we see freedom of expression and journalism threatened and witness the freedom of assembly being squeezed… Philanthropy and civil society are more important than ever in (dealing with) the multiple crises in Europe and the world.”
Following the keynote, participants had the opportunity to watch a panel discussion between Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Nashif; Rob Berkeley, Managing Director of BlkOutUK; and Vesna Terselic, Executive Director of Documenta.
Launched at the Forum
Within the context of the Forum, Philea launched:
- The 6th edition of “Environmental Funding by European Foundations,” the most comprehensive report ever on environmental philanthropy across Europe
- “Arts and Culture at the Core of Philanthropy”, Philea’s latest study into European philanthropic funding of arts and culture
- Our Year in Review 2022
- Our new Strategic Framework 2023-2027
Making space for young voices in philanthropy
Youth participation and the importance of intergenerational solidarity and solution building was a key theme of the conference. The closing plenary brought together a panel of young civil society actors:
- Winnie Asiti of Next Generation Climate Board (Global Greengrants Fund)
- Anna Bondarenko, Founder and Head, Ukrainian Volunteer Service
- Ela Evliyaoğlu, Civil Society Expert, Gençlik Örgütleri Forumu
- Aleksej Leon Gajica, Junior Ambassador to the EU and for the Rights of the Children and Young People, UNICEF
The panel, moderated by Vesna Bajšanski-Agić of the Mozaik Foundation, discussed their unique experiences as engaged youth on the impact philanthropy can have and urged the sector to do more to involve youth from the beginning in policy- and decision-making.
The closing keynote was given by Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, who highlighted the key role that the philanthropy sector can play in helping to strengthen the fabric of democracy, and the importance of working together to do so.
The Philea Forum 2023 was hosted by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development (Croatia).
“The Philea Forum has been very important to create new opportunities for the development of our sector as well as to contribute to the improvement of philanthropy at national level.” Cvjetana Plavsa-Matic, Director, National Foundation for Civil Society Development
The Philea Forum 2024 will be hosted by KBF in the Belgian city of Ghent.