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Div’Apéro 23 January, 2014: from the eyes of Laura Cano, ENAR Foundation Intern

On Thursday, 23rd January 2014, The ENAR Foundation threw its second Div’Apéro in collaboration with its cultural partner, TAG City. This invitation-only event focused on the European Elections. The ENAR Foundation brought together representatives from foundations, businesses, European organizations, European institutions and trade-unions to exchange and network on what is at stake here in Europe. European organizations (European Cultural Foundation, ILGA-Europe, UNITEE amongst others) presented some of their projects to counter the rise of the far-right.

Indeed, the rise of far-right parties is a concern not only to NGOs and political parties, but to society as a whole. The fifth floor of The Philanthropy House, our gracious host, welcomed 75 attendees for a debate with Daniel Mitov (from the National Democratic Institute) and Georgia Tsaklanganos (Greens-European Free Alliance). Music, drinks, snacks and a tombola kept rhythm and spirits up until the very end.

The Div’Apéro is a great way to raise funds and bring people together on a serious matter, exchange ideas, learn about interesting projects and, why not, start cooperating!

Thank you, Giancarlo Rocconi, for photographing the event!

Our Programme

18:00 – 18:30 Registration by the Welcome Desk

18:30- 19:00 Networking

19:00-19:30 Debate and discussions with Daniel Mitov, Resident Representative of NDI, and Georgia Tsaklanganos, Advisor on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs - Greens-European Free Alliance.

19:30– 20:00 European Elections Show and Tell: Presentation of European elections related projects by European organisations

20:00– 20:30 Music Intermission with Anwar Tombola

20:30 Farewell

The attendees list proves the success of the 23rd January Div’Apéro organized by the ENAR Foundation: 75 attendees, including us, the ENAR and ENAR Foundation’s staff, who took an active part in the networking, debating, drinking activities.

Seventy-five is a great number and it fulfills our ambitious objective. The room was full, but not overcrowded. I have the feeling everyone felt comfortable. The possibility of using different rooms during the event really made things easy. The Philanthropy House facilities were ideal – the most challenging aspect – if any – was to find the event as it was on the fifth floor of the brand new building. But Camilla[2] was there on the ground floor to welcome our guest with her Italian warm accent (thank you Camilla!). She also did a great job at taking pictures and covering the ‘forbidden bench’ (a bench that couldn’t stand human weight) with all our brochures (Hidden Talents, EU Elections, etc.) . She made it very appealing with all our information symmetrically spread.

18:00 Registration

People started to arrive even before 18.00. Soon it became evident more than two people were needed at the welcome desk. I would like to thank Juliana[3] and Julie[4] for their support in welcoming guests and selling tombola tickets. Even though the fundraising didn’t reach our expectations, we can highlight that most people participated and many people enjoyed our special offer (10 euros only for 5 tickets). The prizes must have looked attractive, especially the Diddy Beats Earbuds (valued at 100€). Another fact: of the 75 people, 19 showed up without having registered, which can only be taken as a positive sign since they came facing the risk of not being on the list, as they wouldn’t want this event any cost. Fortunately, we had anticipated this situation and had prepared empty registration forms.

18:30 Welcome and presentation of Div’Apéro

Ready, steady, go! The networking starts. People stick their own badges to their clothes (in a visible place, as pointed out at the welcome desk), and they talk to one another. Did anyone feel marginalised? I myself was busy most of the time, but I did notice that everyone was talking to someone. Maybe the space setup enabled people to get closer and mix.

Just one quick remark: all the banana chips seemed to have disappeared from the plates quickly whereas the rest of the granola-type snack ingredients (tiny dried fruits and raisins) didn’t seem to attract anyone… Luckily the interns managed to gather the last bananas in the room for some glucose intake (no more than six sad pieces—most of them broken). A proposal to the TAG City, our cultural partner: please skip the raisins and focus on the banana chips for the next Div’Apéro since they were that successful…

The Ivote4diversity photo booth started calling guests: they played the game, holding our banner and taking a picture for diversity. Anna[5] manages to bring out their best smiles. Serious matters are also enjoyable and this is only the true Div’Apéro Spirit. (Check out the pictures in I Vote for Diversity Facebook Page).

19:30 Debate

Nidaa[6] offered to replace me at the welcome desk and encouraged me to join the debate room and to stay as much as I wanted (thanks a lot Nidaa!!!). Indeed, I found it very interesting. The debate took longer than planned people didn’t want it to end. The speakers were “on a roll” and the audience was equally engaged. Everyone was passionate and contributed without hesitation. Our speakers were Daniel Mitov: Resident Representative of from NDI (National Democratic Institute) Georgia Tsaklanganos: Advisor on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs - Greens-European Free Alliance

Daniel Mitov provided us with very interesting facts about the rise of the far-right parties in Europe (origins, reasons, consequences, statistics). He finished with an appeal for calm: “We shouldn’t panic.” Shouldn’t we? Georgia Tsaklanganos wasn’t very optimistic. As a Green Greek she felt directly and politically touched by the rise of the ‘Golden Dawn’[7] in her country. She suggested a social media involvement in monitoring hate speech. This provoked many ideas and reactions from the audience. ‘Shall we monitor hate speech? What is hate speech? Would this interfere with freedom of speech? Do we need the far right to stimulate the democratic parties to take their responsibilities?’ These were some of the questions arising.

Many people joined the open-mic time (although there was no microphone—it wasn’t necessary, anyway!). I recall many ENAR staff participating (e.g. Claire, Georgina, Julie) and Michael[8] did a great job at moderating. He managed to kindly remind the speakers of the time without cutting their speeches and not making anyone uncomfortable. So it was Pascal[9] who came to remind us the schedule and, after many attempts, the debate was over.

20:00-ish (very much behind schedule) European Elections Show and Tell

The Show and Tell aimed at offering a space for our partner organisations to present their European Election projects. Juliana was in charge of presenting the ENAR-ILGA-Europe[10] and ENAR-UNITED[11] projects. Isabelle Schwartz from European Cultural Foundation, Evelyne Paradis from ILGA Europe and Alexandra Lacroix from UNITEE presented their projects to our guests in an informal setting.

20:30 Tombola (or was it 21:00?)

Pascal grabs the microphone again, presents the singer Anwar and his all-female band who has toured Europe with the famous singer Zaz and are today here with us, and makes a nice show out of the tombola results. All the attendees gathered with great expectations. There were 3 prizes to distribute: some wanted the ear buds. For others, Ilyas Essadek’s[12] portrait of the anonymous handsome guy from Jordan was the goal, and only Jamaar[13] seemed confident that he would meet the actual guy on the spot! Alas, nobody from the ENAR Family won this time (Claire’s[14] spell was broken), and the winners seemed very happy with their prizes.

20:30 (on the printed schedule but not at all in reality) Farewell

It was time to say goodbye to our guests. Almost all of them exchanged a few words at the welcome desk, which had become the farewell desk, to thank us about the evening. I take this as a sign of great success. A special thanks to all the guests who attended our January Div’Apéro:

Thank you all for coming, helping out and participating!

Thank you to the Philanthropy House (and to Andrea, especially!) for hosting us! Thank you to our cultural partner TAG City for their support!

Check out all of Giancarlo’s photos Here. Remember you can follow our activities on the ENAR Foundation website, Facebook and Twitter. #DivApero Join our Campaign #Ivote4Diversity

[1] Laura Cano: Communication intern at ENAR Foundation. Can be reached on projects@enarfoundation.eu

[2] Camilla Colavolpe: Networking Department Intern at ENAR

[3] Juliana Wahlgren: Networking Officer at ENAR

[4] Julie Pascoët: Policy Officer at ENAR

[5] Anna Defour: Policy Department intern at ENAR.

[6] Nidaa Botmi: Intern in the Policy Department at ENAR

[7] Golden Dawn: far-right political party in Greece with fascist ideology whose members have been accused of carrying out hate crimes against immigrants, political opponents and ethnic minorities

[8] Michael Privot: Director of ENAR

[9] Pascal Hildebert: Director of ENAR Foundation.

[10] ENAR-ILGA-Europe project: ILGA-Europe is the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. ENAR and ILGA are working on a Cross-communities mobilization project for a universal and indivisible EU equality agenda.

[11] ENAR-UNITED project: United is a European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees. Both ENAR and UNITED are working together towards the EU Elections with the project “Let’s demand equality!” which aims to mobilize communities for the responsible vote

[12] Ilyas Essadek: Belgian photographer from Brussels who is involved in the project Click & Ride from Brussels to Kinshasa in partnership with the ENAR Foundation

[13] Jamaar Powe-Fischetti: Project Coordinator at ENAR Foundation.

[14] Claire Fernandez: Policy Officer at ENAR. She and her husband were the winners of the two prizes at the previous tombolas!!!



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