Associations Like DANET Are Social Investment
Including And Engaging Older People And Other Generations
The Ljubljana EURAG Conference Is Approaching
Two days ago at Slovenian Third Age University took place They are us. (slov. Oni smo mi), a round table on migrants and migrations. The round table was about migrants and how they are welcomed but as a matter of fact, it was also about older people since it was focused on inclusion, integration, social engagement and their impact on societies. Migrants or older people need to be included. But not one by one…What is needed are systems and organisations.
Based in Ulm, DANET (http://danube-networkers.eu/ ) is a European association and a network of organisastions for learning in later life, social participation and intergenerational dialogue along the Danube. It is in itself social investment creating bridges among different cultures, organisations, institutions, among generations and older people themselves. To put it differently it is in itself social capital or social investmet bringing together older people and professionals‘ knowledge, skills, experience and culture.
I am going to introduce DANET at the EURAG Conference that will be held in my hometown Ljubljana from 6.-8. May, the conference being devoted to the role of organisations of and for older people or mixed organisations and and their impact on society. Such organisations are what sociologists call. social capital. Without them human and cultural capital would be lost, societies would be less effective.
Currently the term social capital is being widely used by sociologists and other professionals, though for a long time it was burdened with economic connotations. But social capital is nothing really new. It is like old wine in a new bottle. (Field, 2008 ). The central thesis of social capital can be summarised: relationships matter and relationships transform the actors and transform society.
In my contribution to the EURAG conference I will be introducing DANET, its political and pragmatic role in the countries along the Danube. I will be touching upon its past and its current experience uniting older people (notwithstanding the level of their formal education and their social background) and their communities.