International Symposium on Volunteering

Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers, Sharon Capeling-Alakija with H.R.H. Price Felipe of Asturias of Spain and Judith Stamm, Head of the Swiss National Committee for the International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001).
Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers, Sharon Capeling-Alakija with H.R.H. Price Felipe of Asturias of Spain and Judith Stamm, Head of the Swiss National Committee for the International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001).

Project at a glance

Dates and Place

18 - 21 November 2001, Geneva, Switzerland
International Conference Center Geneva (ICCG)


International Symposium Association, International Conference Volunteers.


More than 550 volunteers specialists and volunteers themselves from 126 countries.

Project details

The year 2001, proclaimed International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001) by the United Nations, provides a timely opportunity to highlight the achievements of millions of volunteers worldwide. The Year is also a platform for people to engage in volunteer activity. Over 100 national committees have been set up all over the world to implement the four objectives of the year: recognition, facilitation, networking and promotion of volunteering.

An International Symposium on Volunteering (ISV) enabled those involved in volunteerism to evaluate experiences and lessons learned throughout the IYV 2001. The Symposium took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18 to 21 November 2001.

It is in this context that over 550 people involved in volunteer work from 126 countries gathered for the International Symposium on Volunteering (ISV 2001) from 18 to 21 November 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland to review activities, share best practices, enhance networking and recommend actions beyond IYV 2001. Under the slogan "Think and act both locally and globally", presenters explored relations of volunteering to media, economy, generations, women, fundraising, legislation, social marketing, management, research, poverty alleviation, and more. As IYV 2001 was the first International Year in which new technologies played a major role, several sessions focused on information technologies, providing an opportunity for National Committees to build on achievements made throughout the Year. National Committee Representatives discussed plans to continue their work by transforming Committees into National Volunteer Centers, ensuring continued infrastructure, research and adequate training. At the Symposium Exhibition, National Committee members joined forces to display activities and promotional items: newsletters from Bangladesh; stamps from Bahrain; hats from Mongolia; scarves from Syria...

Among the honorary guests attending the Symposium were Moritz Leuenberger, President of the Swiss Confederation; Carlo Lamprecht, President of the State Council, Republic and Canton of Geneva; Manuel Tornare, Mayor of the City of Geneva; Ambassador Walter Fust, Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; His Royal Highness Crown Prince Felipe de Asturias of Spain and IYV Eminent Person; Dr. Nafis Sadik, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General; Sharon Capeling-Alakija, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers Programme; Ambassador Koichi Haraguchi of Japan; Alfredo Sfeir-Younis, Special Representative to the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, World Bank; Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS; Fékrou Kidané, Director of International Cooperation of the International Olympic Committee and Ibrahim Osman, Director of the Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

On 5 December 2001--the International Day of Volunteers--a common message of the Symposium participants was read at the 56th General Assembly Special Event of the United Nations.

To read more, please visit, the official web site of the International Symposium on Volunteering.

External links

Volunteering Opportunities

100 volunteers contributed to the Symposium in the following fields:
  • Reception of volunteers and delegates
  • Logistics (administration)
  • Interpretation and translation (French/English/Spanish)
  • On-line news service (Reporters, web designers)

Short Term Projects

ICVolunteers promotes volunteerism and its recognition, by enhancing civic commitment and involvement, and by providing leadership and links between organizations, individuals and communities. With this perspective, ICVolunteers develops projects and leads initiatives.

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