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Volunteering and lifelong learning

Citizenship & civil dialogue -

The value of volunteering goes far beyond the provision of services and economic growth. It is an expression of active citizenship and therefore enriches democracy and contributes to develop solidarity and social cohesion, a value which is not only in great need in the current economic and social climate, but also one upon which the European Union has been built. Moreover, volunteering fosters European identity and citizenship by developing a sense of common identity and enhancing mutual understanding. Volunteering is freely given, but not cost free – it needs and deserves targeted support from all stakeholders – volunteer organisations, government at all levels, businesses and an enabling policy environment including a volunteering infrastructure.

Volunteering plays an indispensable and capital role in lifelong learning. In education and training, volunteers are parents, learners or educators of all ages willing to improve education and training systems. Volunteering enables volunteers to develop skills and competences for personal, social and civic development that one could not have gained in traditional or professional systems. EUCIS-LLL organised a conference in Krakow, 9 May 2011 on the role, place and value given to volunteering in education and training.

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