2016 08 06 Eurodiaconia AGM day 1 010This week we have been reflecting on our very successful Annual General Meeting held in Utrecht last week.  Nearly 100 members and partners gathered together to consider our theme of Hospitality and how we can be hospitable as individuals and organisations.  Hospitality comes in many forms and for many different people and situations. As our members emphasised, it is not just about welcoming migrants and refugees but about being hospitable to those who experience poverty, to those who battle with dementia, to each other, across all the social situations we may experience in life. To that end, our members adopted a declaration calling for Europe to be more hospitable.  We need decision-makers across Europe to demonstrate genuine hospitality by implementing ambitious and integrated strategies in the fight against poverty and social exclusion, by restoring the balance between economic growth and social investment, by formulating inclusion and integration policies which build bridges rather than fences, and by clearly and completely denouncing xenophobia and hate speech. You can read the full declaration here.

We immediately put this into action this week with an event in the European Parliament on how we can work towards the reduction in homelessness in Europe by investing in services and supporting innovative practices.  Representatives from Diakonie Dusseldorf and Salvation Army Europe shared how they work to ensure hospitality to those experiencing homelessness.

Hospitality is a core element of Diaconia. It is about how we relate to each other in our local communities.  It transcends the boundaries of the European Union. It is about welcoming persons from other backgrounds, but it is also about supporting vulnerable individuals in their communities of origin and about helping them to rebuild their lives and homes. I am proud that Eurodiaconia has made such a clear statement about how we need to be more hospitable. Let’s hope others listen.

Have a good weekend,