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Opening Session: Empowering Communities, Transforming Lives

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The Opening Session is led by Christian Fillet, Chair of the European Social Network, who will be accompanied by representatives from the City of Belgium, Flanders, Walloon and Brussels and Belgian federal governments, and the European Commission.


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Chair of the European Social Network


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Vice-Mayor and Alderwoman for Social Affairs, Poverty Reduction, Social Economy, Environment, and Honorary Services, City of Antwerp, Belgium

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Deputy Minister for Social Services Digital Transformation, Ukraine

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Director for Support to Member States’ reforms, Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support, European Commission

PLENARY Sessions

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Plenary 1: Co-creation and Community Development

Co-creation and community development are interconnected concepts that focus on engaging community members in the process of creating and delivering services, programmes, and initiatives that directly address their needs and aspirations.

Co-creation is a strategy often employed within community development initiatives to ensure that services and programmes are tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the community. By involving community members in the co-production process, community development efforts become more inclusive, responsive, and sustainable.

Co-creation can be seen as a means to achieve the broader goals of community development by fostering collaboration, participation, and empowerment of populations.

At this session, we will have the opportunity to learn about the strategic model Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) to secure enduring impact in the community; a number of well tested approaches across the globe to rebuild communities particularly in the context of welcoming and resettling inflows of people; and ways to implement innovations in co-production of community-based services across Europe.

Presentation Language: English

Interpretation Languages: German, French, Spanish, Italian

Room: Queen Elisabeth Hall


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Chief Executive Officer, European Social Network



Founding Director, Nurture Development, Ireland

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Expert Practitioner in Community Development and Long-term Resettlement, USA

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Founder, Transition Collective, Denmark

PLENary 2: Co-creation and Digital Inclusion

Co-creation and digital inclusion are two intertwined concepts that, when combined, can foster innovative solutions to address social challenges while ensuring that all individuals have equitable access to digital technologies and opportunities.

Co-creation can be used to design and implement digital inclusion initiatives that address the specific needs and priorities of underserved communities. Involving the community in the co-creation process ensures that digital inclusion efforts are responsive to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by different populations with whom social services work.

Digital inclusion initiatives can leverage co-creation to engage the community in the design and delivery of digital solutions and programmes, access to technology and services powered by it. Co-creation can also be used to develop innovative digital solutions that promote social inclusion, such as online platforms for community engagement, virtual support networks, and digital skills development programmes.

By combining co-creation and digital inclusion, organisations and communities can foster greater collaboration, empowerment, and equity in addressing the digital divide and advancing social and economic inclusion for all.

At this session, attendees will find out about some of the key inter-sections between digital and inclusion, including the impact of artificial intelligence in the social work profession, the application of social robotics in care and its ethical considerations, and the co-design and implementation of digitalisation in local public services.

Presentation Language: English, Spanish, German

Interpretation Languages: German, French, Spanish, Italian

Room: Queen Elisabeth Hall


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Social Care Commentator and Former Public Services Editor of the Guardian, United Kingdom


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Senior Fellow for Global and Community Strategy, New York University, USA

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Research Professor, Robotics Institute, Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC) – Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain

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Department Head of Smart City Design, Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE, Germany

PLENARY 3: Co-creating and Managing the Future Workforce

Looking ahead the social services workforce is likely to respond to today’s challenges through a commitment to innovation, collaboration, diversity, equity, and empowerment in cocreation efforts.

There are several reasons why the social services workforce should engage in cocreation. For instance, by embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence to identify emerging needs, digital platforms to enhance collaboration and service delivery, and analytics to improve decision-making. Or through expanding equity to engage with diverse communities and promote a more inclusive workforce as well as through the involvement of people using social services and the community in participatory design, service plan co-creation, and peer support groups.

At this session, speakers will address how the future workforce is likely to evolve by leveraging emerging technologies, building inclusive partnerships, and empowering communities to address complex social challenges collaboratively. Attendees will learn from reflective theory and social work practice through innovative approaches to social care and the way digitalisation is shaping social services; all of which are essential in building up the future social services workforce.

Presentation Language: English, Dutch

Interpretation Languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch

Room: Queen Elisabeth Hall


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Freelance Journalist, Event Chair & Consultant, United Kingdom


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Social Worker and Innovator, Kirwin Maclean Associates, United Kingdom

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Professor, Department of Social Science and Business, Roskilde University, Denmark

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Chairman of the Board of Directors, Association of Social Welfare Centres, Flanders and Brussels, Belgium

Closing Session

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Room: Queen Elisabeth Hall

Presentation Language: English, Spanish, Italian

Interpretation Languages: English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Dutch                

Introductory Ted Talk on Co-producing Socially Inclusive Communities


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Social Care Commentator and Former Public Services Editor of the Guardian, United Kingdom

Policy Roundtable on Co-production for Sustainable Livelihoods and Communities


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Social Care Commentator and Former Public Services Editor of the Guardian, United Kingdom


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Director for Social Rights and Inclusion in the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission

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Independent Expert in Care System Reform and former CEO Who Cares?, Scotland

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Minister for Disabilities, Italy

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Chief Executive Officer, Agenzija Sapport, Malta

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General Director, Imserso, Spain