Immigration stands as probably the single most important challenge facing Europe and the world, and European foundations are taking on this issue in some novel and effective ways. Examples include the Gulbenkian Foundation’s programme of accreditation for immigrant health workers in Portugal and the Barrow Cadbury Trust’s confrontation of issues around immigrant populations in the UK.
Immigration, along with other global challenges, is one of the issues that will be examined by foundations, public authorities, and representatives of multilateral organizations at the European Foundation Centre’s 18th Annual General Assembly (AGA) and Conference, ‘Foundations for Europe: The New Challenges for Global Philanthropy’, to be held 1-3 June 2007 in Madrid, Spain.
The current system of global problem-solving is ill equipped to deal with the challenges we face. The interconnectedness of today’s world means it is increasingly difficult and irrelevant to distinguish between the local and the global, and these new global challenges require innovative thinking in order to develop solutions and to ensure that they are implemented in a way that brings about real and lasting improvements. With their independence, experience, ability to take a long-term view, financial resources, leveraging powers and credibility, foundations can play a central and catalytic role in this process.
It they are to play this role, it is crucial for Europe’s foundations to work effectively across national borders. Governments at national and EU level have a role to play in facilitating this, and it is a question that will feature throughout the 2007 AGA and Conference.