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China honours volunteers on IVD
05 December 2003

Beijing: In a tremendous show of national support for volunteerism, China celebrated International Volunteer Day on 5 December with a series of events ranging from small group gatherings to large formal affairs.

In an event held at the prestigious Great Hall of the People, 30 volunteers from 30 different provinces and autonomous regions around China were honoured with an award for their voluntary work. Organized by the China Association for Social Workers with the support of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the occasion recognized volunteers for their contribution towards the betterment of society.

United Nations Resident Coordinator in China, Khalid Malik, added to event festivities by sharing the Secretary-Generals speech honouring the role of volunteers worldwide and applauding the award winners for their hard work. He also noted the efforts of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in China and around the world, highlighting the value of UN Volunteers in achieving sustainable human development goals.

In a related event, the Research center for Volunteering and Welfare partnered with the Beijing International Volunteer Association (BIVA) and other national volunteer agencies to present a forum on "Volunteer Development and Management." The forum served as a platform to address a range of issues surrounding volunteerism, including overcoming social challenges defining volunteers. Jointly sponsored by United Nations Development Programme (UND) and China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE), forum presenters included Mr. Michael Locke, Director of the Center for Insitutional Studies in the University of East London, and Mr. Ding Yuanzhu, Director of Research Center for Volunteering and Welfare. Participants were encouraged to exchange ideas and to participate in active discussions with the speakers about volunteerism in China.

Held at Beijing University, the event attracted over 100 participants, including university students and representatives from civil society organizations such as Red Cross of Beijing, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, New Path Foundation, Hope foundation, and Korea International Cooperation Agency. An exhibition area enabled national and international organizations to share information.

Opening remarks made by Elsa Fan, UNV Programme Officer, Mr. Zhang Xuechang, Deputy Director of China Young Volunteers Association and Mr. Don Hong, Assistant Director-General of CICETE, emphasized the invaluable contribution of voluntary actions in China and around the world.

International Volunteer Day also provided the backdrop for the Annual UN Volunteers Workshop. Traveling from far and wide, 15 UN Volunteers gathered together in Beijing to participate in a three-day workshop to learn, share and dicuss volunteering and development related issues. They also had the opportunity to meet with the UNDP Resident Coordinator Khalid Malik to talk about issues around volunteerism. However, not all was hard work as participants also took the occasion to engage in a livelier pastime -- karaoke, of course.

Read the whole report (pdf 11KB)

Read speech of Khalid Malik, UNDP Resident Coordinator (pdf 6KB)