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Looking back and ahead Back

Looking back and ahead

5 Jul 2021

How did the Covid-19 crisis impact and fuel our work in 2020 and the years to come? In our Annual Report we look back and ahead and asked 20 grantees, partners and other friends to reflect with us. We asked them about their experiences, lessons and hopes for the future. You can find their ’20 voices on 2020’ throughout the report, which also gives an overview of our activities allowing people to share, imagine and experience Europe.

The importance of adaptability 

Asked what lessons they learned that will serve them the rest of their professional life a few clearly stand out in their answers. They have come to realize the importance of adaptability and being able to work with uncertainties, and that this requires being more responsive in their actions, while being committed to underlying aims and principles. It also requires extra care for their people, good governance and staying hopeful. They learned that their work and organizations turned out to be more flexible and adaptable then they had expected.

They also experienced that collaboration was essential to make sure we remained connected and support each other and that no matter how grim the outlook, they could create. They realize they can still feel connected from their homes, although this will never be able to replace physical human contact, encounters and collaboration and the energy that these bring. Also, we should not overlook the existing digital divide that messes up the level playing field our type of organizations are working to reach.

Sustainable, just and inclusive society

They share clear wishes when it comes to the new normal they would like to see emerge after the pandemic. They hoped the pandemic would lead to a realization of our interconnectedness and therefore a new sense of responsibility and community and cross-sectoral collaborations throughout the world. The crisis has shown the need for a more sustainable, just and inclusive society and economic system, with equal opportunities and access and better care for the environment, freedom of expression and civil liberties. One in which leaders promote empathy and hope, rather than division and fear, and in which we build a better world collectively by breaking free from polarization and conspiracy.

The new normal of working in their eyes will mean a re-thinking the balance of work and home life, a new understanding of how we work together based on shared stakes and desires and a re-emergence of true connections. There will be a combination of the digital tools we started to use with the face to face we need.

Stronger together

We also asked them what the words Europe, solidarity and culture should mean in 2030. For them these words should be an accepted and core part of our society and daily life, something that feeds us rather than that we might lose. This view should be founded on a belief that together we are stronger, flourish more and are better suited to answer to the global challenges of our time. Europe, solidarity and culture are all to be understood in their most inclusive sense.

Solidarity is seen as a bedrock of our European culture and should be the center of the new, post-pandemic, normal. At the same time, there is a need for more solidarity and solidarities and it should be liberated from self-service. Culture is seen as the main driving force of a more unified Europe, the cross-roads of thought and imagery, in all its forms. Europe should be an example of cross-cultural and intercontinental collaboration, acknowledging, and thus overcoming, the barriers of its colonial history. It should stand for slow conscious decision-making and be a pioneer in the new normal.

Read more about their views and our activities in the report.

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