7th International Mayors’ Conference NOW

Space for Encounter – Overcoming Division

Vienna / Austria, 16 – 18 February 2020

We can all observe that tensions and growing divisions are endangering our societies. Hate speech, social media filter bubbles, incitement to antagonise each other based on cultural, social, economic and religious differences have become everyday phenomena. Therefore, finding ways to bring people together is more important than ever. At „Space for Encounter – Overcoming Division“ Mayors, young citizens from all ways of life, community workers, innovative NGOs, renowned researchers and practitioners, social entrepreneurs and urban planners from the Middle East to Northern Europe came together to work on how social cohesion and youth participation in wide-reaching decisions can be brought forward at the local level.

6th International Mayors’ Conference NOW

Promoting Social Cohesion – Youth Participation in our Communities

27 – 29 January 2019, Vienna / Austria

Returning to our motto of the 1st International Mayors’ Conference NOW in January 2016, “Listen, Learn, Ask, Answer” the 6th NOW Conference will provide the space for dialogue – frank, open, uncensored, and on equal terms – around the main topics of participation and education. Our aim is to co-create and develop bold ideas and projects, jointly lead by young people and municipal and educational institutions, to shape the societies they are going to live in.

5th International Mayors’ Conference NOW

Shaping the Future – Social Cohesion in our Cities

Vienna, Austria – 29-30 January 2018

Social Cohesion has become a burning issue for communities across Europe. The constant increase in social inequality, resulting in a rising polarisation of society, has recently been accentuated by the current subject of integrating refugees and migrants. For the 5th time the International Mayors’ Conference gathered about 190 participants from 27 nations in Vienna. During two days of conference mayors, NGO-representatives, experts, local and new arrival children and youth discussed and promoted new political visions, public discourses and impactful policies to improve social cohesion from a human rights perspective.

4th International Conference NOW

African Youth and Migration

Kampala, Uganda – 3-5 September 2017

With the world’s largest population under 18, Africa is the youngest continent, about 2% of the African population leave the continent, often risking their lives. Africa’s youth need perspectives and support to become actors of change. Curated by Hannes Swoboda and in cooperation with the International Institute for Peace (IIP), the 4th NOW Conference gathered about 45 experts from more than 10 mostly Sub‐Saharan and some European countries. Politicians, refugees, youth and NGO representatives discussed the situation of the youth in Africa, its chances and challenges as well as about migration and flight within Africa and beyond.

3rd International Mayors’ Conference NOW

Children under the Radar

Vienna, Austria – 30-31 January 2017

160 participants, mayors, experts, local politicians, MEPs, refugees and NGO-representatives from 22 nations gathered in Vienna to discuss the situation of children on the move. The major challenges refugee children but also some local children and youth in our societies face are violence, exploitation, trauma and lack of access to education. They all need protection, safe spaces for discovery, personal development, real chances for experiencing community and access to quality education and health. At the third NOW Conference, curated by Viola Raheb, 4 panels and 12 workshops offered space to discuss main problems and share solutions in an area which is often overlooked, even though children make up half of all current refugees. In addition, three round tables provided insights into municipal and European perspectives and refugees shared their stories and experiences.

2nd International Mayors’ Conference NOW

The EU – Turkey Agreement

Athens, Greece – 21-22 July 2016

The NOW Conference in Athens focused on the EU-Turkey-Agreement and the effects and consequences of its implementation for local communities. Mayors from affected municipalities in Greece, Turkey and Italy met at to assess this agreement, together with representatives of NGOs, members of the European Parliament, experts and refugees and discussed conclusions for future approaches and agreements concerning refugees in the MENAT region and Europe. The conference was curated by Hannes Swoboda, former MEP, and board member of the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna.

1st International Mayors’ Conference NOW

Vienna, Austria – 22-23 January 2016

The first NOW Conference was initiated and developed by women and men from the worlds of science, arts, journalism, politics and NGOs and the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna on the occasion of the massive refugee movement from civil war-torn Syria during the summer of 2015 and the striking cluelessness of national governments and the EU. The basic idea was that living together takes place on a communal level, so mayors, experts, civil society representatives and refugees from affected regions from ten countries along the entire path from Syria across the first host countries, Lebanon and Jordan, the transit route (Turkey, Greece, Italy) as well as receiving countries, Austria and Germany, were to be given an opportunity to discuss feasible solutions for living together based on the values of democracy and human rights, to present good practices and exchange experiences in a two-day conference. The first NOW Conference was currated by Robert Misik, Viola Raheb and Hannes Swoboda.