Istanbul historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country’s economic, cultural, and historic centre.
Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical centre lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. The city is the administrative centre of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (coterminous with Istanbul Province), both hosting a population of around 14.7 million residents.
The total number of participants in the Freja Forum 2012 was 245 from 9 countries. Responsible host for the Forum was the Women Entrepreneurs’ Association of Turkey, KAGIDER.
This year Croatia was a member of the European Union and the interest from civil society organisations (CSO) was focused on this new situation. Croatia has been less active in Freja Forum after the membership in EU until last year 2018 when the interest from CSO has increased again. CSO in Albania and Turkey have shown an increasing interest for Freja Forum from 2011.
The subject of the Forum 2012 was Equal Opportunities, Democracy and Social Innovation. What does the concept of social innovation mean? How can the voluntary sector and community benefit from social innovations? How do young people seize the opportunity to influence its development?
Two reports, one on Methods concerning development in NGO mentoring and one on Priorities of main donors, were presented.
In the opening sessions remarks were done by the KAGIDER president Dr Gülden Türktan and by high representatives for the Turkish government, the European Union delegation to Turkey, the Government of Albania, the Tuzla region in Bosnia Herzegovina, a.o.
A red ribbon ceremony was held to inaugurate the Freja Academy. The academy is an association and an independent part of Freja Forum.
Freja Academy is a part of Freja Forum with the objective to encourage and support civil society organisations, especially between the forum, in strengthening their roles in creating a civil society based on democracy and equal opportunities.
There were possibilities during the evaluation session to give written examples of the importance of Freja Forum for the participant. There were evidences for that Freja Forum has inspired participants in their daily work whether it is for small scale and occasional events or bigger projects. One participant wrote:
“What can I do after Freja? If we talk about concrete actions in my organisation, inspired by Freja forum, I can say that I will organise workshops for young people in our organisation about democracy, equal opportunities and gender. I will share the experiences from Freja Forum, seminars and workshops. Also I will organize networking between young people in the region (Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina). I will try to organize a camp for young people from these countries in my city next year and I will promote Freja Forum (EU) values.”