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Conference Examines State of the Third Sector

“Citizenship and its Multiple Dimensions” was the central theme of the 7th Iberian-American Meeting of the Third Sector, one of the world’s largest events in this field. Nearly 1,000 people from 19 countries attended the meeting, which was supported by the Kellogg Foundation. The conference was held in São Paulo (Brazil) from May 16-19.

One of the primary issues addressed during the conference was the fact that, the greater the level of integration and cooperation between civil society and government, the greater the chances of achieving effective socio-economic transformation. Participating in this debate were  the Spaniard Antonio Sáenz de Miera, director of the San Benito Alcántara Foundation and president of Spain’s University-Company Foundations Network (Redfue), and João de Paula Monteiro Ferreira, creator of the Brazil Citizenship Foundation. “There is no Third Sector without the State or the marketplace. It is their very complementary nature that helps foster social well-being,” explained Sáenz de Miera.

In order to illustrate the success of this cooperation, a session was held to present experiences, demonstrating the need to encourage social protagonism and the shaping of citizenship. The presentations were mediated by the Colombian philosopher Olga Lucía Toro. One of the projects presented as an example during the discussions was Alliance with Adolescents, run by the Alliance Institute in the Northeast of Brazil and a recipient of Kellogg Foundation support.

The Iberian-American Meeting of the Third Sector was organized in Brazil by the Group of Institutions, Foundations and Enterprises (GIFE). The Kellogg Foundation made donations for GIFE to award grants for representatives of NGOs in Brazil and the rest of Latin America to par-ticipate in the conference; a total of 110 people were able to attend the meeting as a result of this initiative.

The event has been held biennially since 1992. The next meeting, in 2006, will be hosted by Mexico. “In the countries where they are held, the Iberian-American Meetings of the Third Sector leave a trace of civil organization,” said Léo Voigt, president of GIFE.


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