Full Speed Ahead at the 1st Venice Summit

The Human Safety Net and over 20 non-governmental organizations, partners and local program managers gather in Venice to brainstorm, set goals and share best practices.

The Human Safety Net and over 20 non-governmental organizations, partners and local program managers gather in Venice to brainstorm, set goals and share best practices. 

The Human Safety Net’s first annual summit for NGOs, partners and program managers – NetWorks 2018, held at the Global Campus for Human Rights in the Monastery of San Nicolò in Venice – reflected all the enthusiasm, dedication and fervor of an exciting global movement that was launched less than a year ago, in October 2017.

The intense three-day summit covered a lot of ground. Participants took part in workshops on how to promote equal opportunities for disadvantaged children ages 0-6 (For Families); how to encourage economic and social integration of refugees through the creation of small businesses (For Refugee Start-Ups); and how to increase awareness for neonatal asphyxia (For Newborns), among others.

Participants also discussed ways to measure social impact, create awareness campaigns around program issues, and the best approaches for corporate volunteering.

But the intangible benefits were even more impressive. By bringing together people from all over the globe, NetWorks 2018 helped foster fruitful working relationships between participants, giving people who are struggling to combat the same problems in different countries around the planet a chance to get to know one another, share approaches and best practices, and compare and contrast their experiences with peers.

A third day was dedicated to program managers – Generali colleagues who actively manage The Human Safety Net’s activities in local countries – and focused on building effective partnerships.

In total, over 80 people from across Europe (Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Poland, Serbia, Czech Republic, Hungary), Latin America (Argentina) and Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand) participated in the event.

Guest speakers included Lisa Gennetian, a Research Professor at New York University and a leading scholar in the field of behavioral economics. Gennetian discussed techniques for encouraging more positive behaviors for children and parents among economically disadvantaged families. A fascinating aspect of her presentation examined Richard Thaler’s Nudge Theory, which explores how governments can gently push people toward doing good things.

Guven Sak, who in 2004 founded the Economy Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, the country's first economic think tank, shared success stories and lessons learned from the economic integration of refugees in Turkey.

World Health Organization and UNICEF counselors Giorgio Tamburlini (President of the Centro per la Salute del Bambino) and Ilgi Ertem, a professor in Istanbul and founder of the International Developmental Pediatrics Association, talked with For Families participants about active parenting and the ways early childhood development can have a positive impact across society, especially in underprivileged communities.

International doctors Mathias Kalina, Group Medical director of Europ Assistance, and Tullia Todros, Department Head for Gynecology & Obstetrics 2 at the Sant’Anna Hospital in Turin, held a special workshop with participants in The Human Safety Net’s For Newborns program.

With The Human Safety Net now fully up and running, its efforts to create networks of people helping people all over the globe are attracting more support and recognition than ever. Now all eyes are turned forward to NetWorks 2019!