Act.Now is an initiative taken in the wake of the refugee crisis in 2015. It was set up as an enterprise, acting internationally but based in Vienna. The first international conference was held in Vienna in 2016 and since then in total 5 conferences have been arranged. According to its website, against the background of profound societal changes, Act.Now “aspires to a respectful and appreciative social coexistence to be possible in the near and distant future”. Act.Now encourages people to take on more responsibility, connects active individuals and initiatives, provides information about social changes and their impact, to promote the discussion of new solutions, and uses formats that are both cognitively and emotionally effective.
I was invited to the 5:th international conference, held in Vienna, 29-30 January 2018. The conference had the title “Shaping the Future – Social Cohesion in our Cities” and is presented like this at the website:
“The influx of migrants in 2015 and 2016 highlighted problems that already existed in societies: in particular social inequality and polarisation, which have had a significant negative impact on community life. This development is especially worrying with regard to children and young people. How are towns, cities and communities addressing these challenges? And how can social cohesion at community level be strengthened? The 5th International Mayors’ Conference NOW, which took place on 29 and 30 January in Vienna, concentrated on this topic, with a special focus on the younger generation. Around 190 political decision-makers, experts, NGO representatives and citizens from 27 countries discussed and analysed cross-border approaches to overcoming the challenges facing our society.”
I participated in one of the panels, the one with the title “Social cohesion – towards new political debates and policies”. More information on the conference and its results can be found here.