Athens UniverSSE 2017 Congress: no one left behind!

This campaign aims to collect money in order to cover travel and accommodation expenses for members of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) groups that are going to participate in the UniverSSE 2017 Congress, and also some of its administration costs.

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General Information

UniverSSE 2017 is the 4th European Congress for Social Solidarity Economy that will take place in Athens from the 9th till the 11th of June.

Cooperatives, grassroot initiatives, SSE organizations, groups and people that work to promote and advance SSE from all over Europe will meet for the event.

During the 3day Congress, we are going to have the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas, experiences, expertise and common strategies around SSE. We consider SSE to be a dynamic space that spreads all over Europe, in which people organize their social and economic activity in many different ways

This event is a great opportunity to enhance SSE’s visibility in Greece and to build strong connections amongst people, groups and coops on a European level.

We are also happy to announce that the 6th General Assembly of Ripess EU will be held in Athens as well, as part of the Congress.

Main features

The Congress has 7 thematic zones that cover all the areas of Social and Solidarity Economy. In each thematic there will be discussions, presentations of initiatives and labs.

The thematic zones are:

1. Concepts, forms and fields of social solidarity economy and cooperativism

The universe of S.S.E is characterized by a vast range of operations that work in various sectors of the economy, such as food , education, trade, new technologies, alternative financing, communication, tourism and more.

Horizontal management, role distribution, labour relations, conflict management, social and economic sustainability, networking, marketing strategies, social impact and decision making process are some of the challenges that we want to discuss! And of course some questions: Social Economy? Solidarity Economy? Cooperative Economy? Social Entrepreneurship? What about Sharing Economy?

2. Responsible consumption, production and climate change

The globalized neo-liberal system seeks to maximize shareholder profits to the detriment of human and planetary resources, leading to climate change and severe social damage. The broad vision of solidarity economy is based on sustainability and this implies the relocalisation of production and consumption (food, renewable energies, goods, services, culture…) as specified in Sustainable Development Goal 12. Solidarity economy, by implementing this approach, (re)builds solidarity at all levels, empowers citizens to create and implement alternatives in direction of food sovereignty, reconnects rural and urban society, and significantly contributes to fighting climate change (SDG 13).

3. Practices of SSE on social integration with a special focus on refugees’ issues

Crisis management or empowerment policies for social groups experiencing exclusion? Can SSE transform the design and implementation of social policy in the direction of solidarity? How is “social work” affected in the context of crisis and what does the mutual help model imply? Bright examples of social solidarity initiatives towards refugees as housing projects from self-organized initiatives and social entrepreneurship will be presented.

4. Social innovation: Research, technology, education and tools for SSE

A fundamental part of the social innovation occurring in the solidarity economy is its pedagogic character. Pedagogic in the ways that education-related movements practice teaching and learning and, more importantly, in the way that take part in a movement with transformational impact on the personal, societal and political levels.

This session would like to explore how social innovation and knowledge production and sharing is practiced in the SSE: How assemblies act as an educational method and how novel pedagogic methods incorporate democracy as educational principle? What is the role of technology for the capturing and reproduction of the manifested social innovation and how the knowledge produced on the ground can be systematised and distributed? What new forms of research and educational institutions are bred by a practice based in solidarity and collective well-being in relation to the public, private and third sectors?

5. Commons: Approaches and practices on digital, natural, urban, cultural common goods

The movements for the defense, recuperation and development of Commons, consist of a growing wave of practices of mutuality and a proposal of a social and economic model of organization beyond the state and/or market bipolarity. This thematic aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and self-management of Commons by the communities of their users in various fields – from the natural resources (water, land, food, energy etc.) to digital commons and from the urban space to knowledge production. Moreover, it hopes to enrich the discussion that already has started around the conception of institutional and legal frameworks for the establishment of Commons, in the prospect of radical social transformations.

6. Public policies (local, national, European level) promoting SSE: From whom, for who, what for.

Recently, a series of framework laws have been introduced in various countries of Europe (and not only Europe) with the intention to recognize Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), to regulate a number of issues related to the respective entities belonging to the universe of SSE, to define the way through which the state at its various levels (central, regional, local) interacts with SSE.

To what extent the new public policies enable or restrain the transformative potential of SSE? Are the necessary conditions for the creation of a public space between SSE and the state assured? Are there any examples of local governance with a radical direction? How are local communities involved with the design and implementation of policies affecting their everyday life?

7. Open space / Free zone

This thematic is created in order to host any discussion, presentation, lab that does not fit in the above categories.

Hundreds of groups, that are on the SSE field across Europe, will join the Congress to discuss, exchange practices and experiences, create tools that will inspire the Society and plan all together a common future.

Our Goal is to Democratize Economy, Emancipate Society and Empower Change.

Why this is important

Our motivation is to include in the Congress as many key players in the field of SSE as possible.
Spread around Europe there are many different groups linked to SSE that are working on a local or a national level. In order to build a stronger network in between these groups we want to create a space of cooperation. So this summer in Athens the UniverSSE2017 congress will take place. It will be the meeting point for people, collective ventures, SSE organizations and groups all around Europe, who work to promote and enhance SSE. Based on the 7 thematic spaces of the Congress, we will discuss and exchange experiences, ideas, expertise and conclusions around SSE and decide on the next steps to implement strong cooperation on a European level.

These are the reasons that we want to organize the UniverSSE 2017 congress.

The participation of everybody is crucial in order to achieve the goals described above.
We want initiatives from all countries to be able to participate and share their experiences, especially groups from countries that face the bigger financial and social problems.
Everybody has a place in the SSE universe, regardless of the financial conditions, lets not forget that Solidarity is a building block of this economy.

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