350 Volunteers Contribute 14,000 Hours to Social Development - Geneva 2000

27 June 2000
350 volunteers have come together from all over the world to help make Geneva 2000 a success. forming 28 teams in all, they have been recruited, trained and coordinated under the guidance of International Conference Volunteers (ICVolunteers).

By the time Geneva 2000 is over, volunteers will have contributed some 14,000 hours to its preparation and realization. Volunteers are active in almost all aspects of the Conference: coordination of the audio-visual center; help at the cyber café; supervision of conference rooms; administrative work; help at the press center and manual work. In many cases, the volunteers are serving critical roles, such as the reception and assistance of delegates and non-professional translation and interpretation of sessions. 

Diversity and cooperation

True to the spirit of Geneva 2000, diversity is a major theme of its volunteers. More than 40 nationalities are represented, from all parts of the world. Some come from as far away as Malaysia, Ecuador, Cameroon, Hungary and Burma. The oldest volunteer is 79; the youngest just turned 16. The teams are very often "intergenerational": the more experienced volunteers help the younger ones and vice versa. Some jobs require very specific profiles and competences, for others good will and some knowledge of spoken English are enough. In some teams one might find a student, a housewife, a professional working in an international organization and a retired person. It is precisely this diversity, which fosters rich and interesting exchanges between delegates and volunteers. 65% of the volunteers are female, 35% are male. 

The drive to help

People volunteer for a number of motivations: for many, volunteering is a move of solidarity. Volunteering is also a way of getting involved in an international project and to meet people from all over the world. For the younger volunteers, it is often a way to apply competences and knowledge acquired during their studies. It is also a way of seeking for opportunities, challenges, contacts and friendships.

No matter their motivations, it is always easy to recognize the volunteers: they wear a blue T-shirt with the inscription "volunteer".

50 families open their homes in France and Switzerland

Approximately 50 families have generously offered free housing to the international volunteers and delegates from developing countries. 

The host family program is an important part of the efforts undertaken by IC Volunteers. Many delegates depend on such "host families" to be able to attend the Summit. The help make this a reality, ICVolunteers has joined forces with another NGO, Mandat International. The result, Geneva-Host, is a network of families willing to regularly offer housing to delegates who may not be able to afford hotels in Geneva. 

ICVolunteers and Geneva-Host are enabling the Geneva community to contribute to the international spirit of Geneva and to give a voice to those with limited means. 

Behind International Conference Volunteers (ICVolunteers)

ICV is a non-profit organization, founded by Viola Krebs to assist organizers of humanitarian conferences in finding, organizing, and training volunteers. Its roots began in 1997, with the 850-person Volunteer Program of the 12th World AIDS Conference. Today, ICVolunteers organizes more than a dozen conferences in Geneva and elsewhere each year. The next event will be the June XIII World AIDS Conference in South Africa. 

ICV is also involved in the preparation of the International Year of Volunteers 2001 (www.iyv2001.org and www.iyv-forum.ch). It is planning an International Symposium on volunteering to take place 18 to 21 November 2001.

Press Conference

27 June 2000, 15h00, International Conference center (ICCG), Room XVIII.

Contact

Viola Krebs, Director, phone 079 679 1693, email: viola@icvolunteers.org.

International Conference Volunteers (ICVolunteers), P.O. Box 755, 1211 Geneva 4
Tel.: +41 22 702 59 53, Fax: +41 22 321 53 27, Email: info@icvolunteers.org, www.icvolunteers.org.
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