The European Network of Amity Partners (ENAP) celebrated its 30th founding anniversary in Hamburg, Germany on June 2017.
Amity started ENAP, the multi-bilateral cooperation mechanism, in 1987 with the aim of strengthening the connection and cooperation between Amity and its European partners.
The day before the celebration a special meeting was held, attended by more than 30 representatives from 16 partners. The topic of the meeting was to reflect on the past history of the network, celebrate the anniversary, and set a course for the future.
Amity mentioned the rapid development of China's volunteer sector and the impact new technology has had on people's daily life and paying habits in a keynote speech titled New Start. The progress and changes provided a new and broader platform for people to engage in charities. Combined with the macroscopic analysis, the speech also introduced the current situation and the possible prospect for some of Amity's innovative programs in detail.
After that the heads of Amity's international office in Geneva and the offices in Hong Kong and Africa, and Amity's senior research advisor shared their main jobs and future plans, emphasizing the elaboration of Amity's efforts in religion and social development in recent years. Reviewing the document of partnership co-written in 1987, the participants finally reached a consensus of continuing to stick to mutual respect, strengthening communication, and deepening cooperation on adapting to the new situation.
After the meeting, the 30th anniversary of ENAP was held. Qiu Zhonghui, general secretary of the Amity Foundation, was the first speaker. He declared that the organization valued the deep friendship with its partners in the past three decades.
He stated that great changes have taken place in China, especially China's Belt and Road Initiatives expressing the country's wish of sharing development opportunities with countries along the Belt and Road and achieving common prosperity; meanwhile, it also created a chance for the Chinese social organizations to go global and join in global economic governance and social development. Qiu adds that the organization would expand its charity projects and carry out advocacy work that builds global bridges and platforms for Chinese social organizations.
More than 60 people attended the ceremony, including Bishop Jan Janssen of the Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany (EMW), Dr. Klaus Schafer of the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), and Claudia Ostarek on behalf of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD).
Bishop Jan Janssen recalled the scene of Amity's cooperation and consultation conference in which EMW summoned 28 organizations from six European countries in 1987. The last sentence in the consensus document made at that time summarized the changing thoughts of the European partners after contacting Amity: "We're more convinced of the importance of cooperation between Christians and non-Christians in social development." The bishop interpreted Amity's vital role in promoting communication and friendship between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, European partners and the church, and society, as well as the history and vision of ENAP.
Translated by Karen Luo