he University of Pécs's Wislocki Henrik College (WHS), on 27-28 November 2017, was invited by the Portuguese Ministry of the Prime Minister and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to attend the conference "Opening of an ERA of Social Innovation". We would also like to thank the organizers for this opportunity.
WHSz was represented at the conference by 13 members.High-level social policy issues in the European Union were explored through various programs at the conference and approximately 1500 people attended. Twenty-six organisations were selected through National Agencies (ESzA in Hungary) where they displayed their programs and presented their work to the public in a large shared hall, chosen by the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Market Mobility of the European Commission. Watch our video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3N-EUS2x4E
This event was a great opportunity to represent the WHSz on a national level. We had the opportunity to meet with and discuss our organization with high-level decision-makers, including Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, who was eager to learn more about the operation of our College. Over the course of two days, we created many connections with other individuals and organizations and learned more about social policy trends in the European Union.
The rest of the week we visited the Hungarian Embassy in Portugal and two Portuguese nongovernmental organizations. Ambassador Clara Breuer, originally from Pécs, welcomed the WHSz team and showed us around the beautiful embassy building and talked about the mission of the Hungarian Embassy.
On Thursday morning, we took a long walk to the Loures District to the office of the Loures Arte Pública. There we met with the Councillor for Culture and Housing who presented the achievements and future goals of the organization. Afterward, a member of the Quinta Do Mocho neighborhood showed us the incredible murals painted on the walls throughout the district, explaining the artists’ intents and stories. The murals were monumental and profound, aimed to inspire the community. To see the murals for yourself, please visit http://www.cm-loures.pt/Media/Microsite/Artepublicaloures/index.html
On Thursday evening, we met gypsy university students from Portugal who run an NGO called Iniciativa Cigana that has a similar program to the WHSz. organization as ours the name is Iniciativa Cigana. One of the goals of the organization is to support Gypsy students obtain university diplomas. We discussed issues that Roma people face in Portugal and Hungary and a possible collaboration between the WHSz and Iniciativa Cigana.
We also did some sightseeing, visiting the ocean, various neighborhoods and Portuguese monuments. We saw many breathtaking places together, including the St. Catherine Square.
This was the first time the WHSz has had the opportunity to represent itself in the international community at an event regarding policy, and through this experience, we learned a lot and created many new relationships.