In September 2005, for the first time in five years, a European conference of organisations involved in international volunteer co-operation took place in London. It was organised by the International FORUM on Development Service, formerly a European organisation but now a global network of which I am currently President.
FORUM is unusual in the way it brings together governmental, multilateral and NGO bodies. They all share an interest in the way in which people contribute to making this world a better place, demonstrating a willingness to share their lives with people and communities in other parts of the world through voluntary engagement, exchange programmes or institutional co-operation. The impact of contemporary forces, often summarised as globalisation, has generated an innovative and critical approach to our ways of working as we meet fresh challenges. This conference focused on many of those future developments, emphasising how we can redefine and renew our models and approaches. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the conference, in particular to CONCORD, AKLHÜ and Skillshare International for the financial support that enabled it to happen.