It was in October 2004 that the first conference on “Strategies for the New Welfare Society in the Larger Europe” took place in Trieste, organized by The Risk Institute, The Geneva Association, the Club of Rome and The Central European Initiative, with the patronage of the Autonomous Region Friuli – Venezia Giulia. This event gave birth to the “European Papers on the New Welfare”, with the contribution of Macros Research. The programme was published in issue 1 of these Papers.
A second conference on “The New Welfare – The Counter-Ageing Society” then took place in Turin, in October 2007, organized by The Risk Institute, Macros Research and The Geneva Association, with the support of EurizonVita, Fondiaria-Sai and Intesa-San Paolo. The programme was published in issue 8 of the European Papers. This conference has provided most of the contributions present in this issue 9 and an Italian version will shortly be published in issue 10.
A third conference is already being prepared for 2009, while a number of intermediate meetings and contributions are taking place on questions and problems related to the New Welfare in various places from Lublijana to Milan.
Since the beginning of 2007, the European Papers have been available on a site (www.newwelfare.org) which, little by little, is gaining recognition: we can now register over 10.000 enquiries per month (350-400 per day on average).
Let’s remind ourselves of what we already underlined in the editorial of issue 6: this magazine is totally independent and “exists because a number of people believe that the phenomenon of a longer life-cycle (extending little by little to the whole world) is a crucial factor in the present and future development of our society. This is a true revolution, concerning culture, economics, social justice, individuals, family and political institutions. Fundamental issues are at stake: intergenerational solidarity, the capacity of the younger generation to better manage their future life cycle, the capacity and possibility of the older generation to integrate in an open society. In other words, to provide and manage hope, vision and results for everybody’s life”. All these are strong motivations for continuing with this initiative, based essentially on voluntary work and personal, individual contributions: it is worth being involved and engaged in something deeply linked with reality and the future.
What is at stake is the addition of over 20 years of meaningful life for all humans and all the projects and issues that this conquest implies. We look forward with great interest to the day when social thinkers, economists, intellectuals will discover what is already before our eyes. For the moment let’s consider an inspired vision, the one written almost a century ago by Khalil Gibran, in his famous book “The Prophet”, on the issue of work and being active:
“You work so that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth, for to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession…
… always you have been told that work is a course and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born.
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life, and to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret…”
For once, a little bit of poetry for an active, full life.