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The 50+ generation is willing to take an active role in discussions about decisions which affect their lives, says a World Café Europe report

The 50+ generation is willing to take an active role in discussions about decisions which affect their lives, says a World Café Europe report © Lorenzo Pondrelli

The 50+ generation is willing to be actively involved in discussions about fostering active ageing and in the deliberation of policy decisions which affect their lives. This is the message expressed by many of the senior citizens, about 700, who took part in the European Voices for Active Ageing (EVAA) project conducted by World Café Europe in the framework of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012.

The results of the six Thematic Cafés organised by the non-profit organisation across six EU countries (Bilbao, Bonn, Prague, London, Bologna and Strasbourg) have now been presented in a 40-page report which gives detailed information on the standpoint of generations of older adults aged 50 to 95.

"The results demonstrate quite clearly that there is a very great desire for a different way of dealing with the subject of age. People aged 50+ are keen to take an active role in the discussions about the life of older adults currently taking place in the political and social landscape of Europe", says Jeffrey Beeson, from the executive board of World Café Europe.

"When we were preparing the project, we discovered that public discussion on active ageing is often conducted by people who do not themselves actually belong to the generations of adults aged 50+. We wanted to give these generations a voice to discuss their needs and ideas directly with them, not to speak to experts about them", explains Patricia Munro, co-organiser of the initiative. "What struck us is that in all the different countries where we held dialogues, the participants were interested in the same key themes. Age discrimination, lifelong learning and civic commitment were the three most important", she adds.

According the evaluation forms returned by participants in the meetings, the desire to participate in these discussions is extremely high: 97% of the EVAA participants feel motivated after their participation in the Thematic Cafés to continue their engagement with the topics they discussed on active ageing. After the event, almost 60% stated that they had a better picture of the role which adults of aged 50+ can play in society.

A few specific projects have already emerged from the EVAA project. "We have concrete project ideas for a continuation of our work with our partners from AGE UK, further development of the World Rhythmics Café® is currently under way in Dresden, and the know-how gained from the EVAA project about this untapped potential is being communicated to other organizations”, explains Jeffrey Beeson.

Videos of all the Thematic Cafés held in 2012 are available here.