Context. Intergenerational solidarity is based on mutually supportive intergenerational relationships, valuing and demonstrating equity and reciprocity between generations, creating an intergenerational society. Generations learn from each other by sharing knowledge and experience, while they also need each other in order to meet the care needs of children and the elderly. Today, demographic transition towards an ageing society, changes in family structures and living arrangements along with urbanisation are increasingly influencing interngenerational relationships both on a personal and societal level. With rising longevity and declining fertility, the world is aging rapidly. Moreover, as the double-income family model becomes more and more widespread, parents, and especially women face an increased double responsibility to provide care for their children and older members of the family. And finally, urbanisation, increasingly attracting the young generation into cities, often leads to a disconnect between the youth and the older, rural generation.
Challenges. As a result, intergenerational relations have been under increasing pressure over the last number of years. The number of multigenerational families with intergenerational support and reliance are rapidly declining, especially in urban areas, posing multiple challenges to the elderly and youth at the same time, and threatening with marginalisation. On a societal level, an ageing population puts increased pressure on social protection systems, including pension schemes, health care systems, and employment; while education and care for children formerly provided by the elderly are increasingly becoming the responsibility of the State or the private sector.
The way forward. In order to build strong societies and enhance social cohesion and integration, it is key to promote strong intergenerational relations, with the overall aim to reduce the vulnerability of younger and older generations and making sure that no one is left behind, in line with the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There is a need to re-discover and recognise the essential contribution that the youth and the elderly can make to the well-being of their families, communities and functioning of their societies. Such a goal can only be tackled effectively through a multi-stakeholder approach where governments, the private sector, civil society and academia work together to design and implement social policies and best practices, foster corporate social responsibility as well as civil and local government initiatives. Partnerships between youth and older persons organizations, community-based active ageing centres, multiservice, cultural and community organizations, community members of all ages should discover opportunities for voluntary, constructive and regular interaction between young people and older generations in the family, the workplace and society at large. From creating community programmes and promoting intergenerational communication at work, to multigenerational living arrangements and intergenerational care provision, there is a wide array of notable examples in this regard.
The aim is to achieve an intergenerational society, where individuals of all ages are an integral and valued part of the society, reflected in the families, facility structures, services, policies and regulations that children, youth and the elderly encounter in the community as well as in day-to-day interactions and relationships.
This event will try to find answers to the following discussion points:
1. How are the intergenerational links changing in present society and how can these changes be seen as an opportunity to strengthen connections between the generations?
2. What defines the transition from multigenerational to intergenerational societies?
3. How can partnerships among all stakeholders be promoted on a national and local level?
Permanent representative of Hungary to the United Nations
Mrs. Bogyay is an authority to talk about ‘Family policies and best practices in an ageing society’. From 2009 to 2014, Ms. Bogyay served as her country’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and from 2011 to 2013 as President of UNESCO’s General Conference upon the unanimous proposal of the UNESCO Executive Board. From 2006 to 2009, she was Hungary’s State Secretary for International Affairs for Education and Culture, and from 1999 to 2006, Founding Director of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London. Prior to entering government, Ms. Bogyay had a distinguished career as an international television broadcaster, film producer and writer. Author of several books and publications, she is also a guest lecturer and speaker at several universities and international conferences. She is a strong advocate for the empowerment of women, protection of vulnerable people in conflict zones and a supporter of cultural diversity all over the world.
‘Family policies and best practices in an ageing society’
Chair of the Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies at the University of Delaware
Dr. Bahira’s research focuses on the relationship between family change, growing family complexity and globalization in Western and non-Western contexts. Dr. Trask concentrates on how economic transformations are impacting gender roles and family change, how concepts of race, ethnicity and gender are changing through globalizing influences, and what kind of policies can assist and strengthen low income families. She is also interested in intergenerational relationships and workforce development for the 21st century. Over the last several years she has been invited to participate in a series of United Nations conferences where she has presented on these issues at expert group meetings (EGM) in various countries around the world. She has been also invited to participate in the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families and in January 2015 was awarded NCFR’s prestigious fellow designation. Dr. Trask has written and edited five books in the area of family change and globalization including Women, Work and Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities (2014) and Globalization and Families: Accelerated Systemic Social Change (Springer, 2010).
‘Supporting Families: Strengthening Intergenerational Solidarity in Globalizing Contexts’
Ms.Dugarova. Esuna specialises in social and family policy in transition economies and monitors the implementation of SDGs in developed and developing countries at the United Nations Development Program in New York. Former Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva. She has also acted as an external expert at the European Commission and lectured at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Prior to joining UNRISD, Esuna worked as a research associate at the London School of Economics and Political Science on new migration from the BRIC countries to the UK, did consultancy for the World Bank on social accountability and governance issues in China, and taught at the University of Cambridge. Originally from the Republic of Buryatia in Russia, she holds a PhD degree in Asian Studies and a BA degree in Chinese and Burmese Studies. As I said, she will present some reflections on ‘Ageing and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.
‘Ageing and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’
Mrs. Sullivan founded Parents Forum in 1992 as a way to ‘pay forward’ the help she received in raising her three sons. Now the grandmother of four, she sees the effort to develop positive ways of expressing feelings and managing both one’s internal and one’s interpersonal conflicts as the core of good parenting and the key to a happy and successful life, whether or not one is raising children. Ms. Sullivan has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in teaching French. In 2012 she retired from MIT after 30 years as an editorial assistant.
‘Parenting Education: Cornerstone of Intergenerational Solidarity’
Director of International Relations at the International Federation for Family Development
As part of his work for international bodies, Mr. Socias has organized and participated in different global and regional UN Expert Group Meetings around the world. He was Director of the 18th International Family Congress (Valencia, October 2010) and keynote speaker for the 18th International Family Congress (Mexico City, 2015). He has also been invited to the three editions of the European Demography Forum organized by the European Union, several World Family Summits, the Hungarian Presidency of the EU in Budapest Conference about Demographic Change, the European Commission Conference on the European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and intergenerational solidarity. During the preparations and celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, he has been a keynote speaker for some other 39 conferences in 21 countries. He also represents IFFD in the FamiliesAndSocieties 7FP European Commission Project, the biggest European research on families, and has been part of different high-level events on family at the European Parliament, Committee of the Regions and Economic and Social Committee.
Executive Director of Generations United
Mrs Butts has over 35 years of committed and productive work with non-profit organizations, including Covenant House, the YWCA and National 4-H Council. Under her leadership, Generations United has been the catalyst for policies and practices, stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. Its mission is to improve the lives of children youth and older people through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs for the enduring benefit of all. Recently, she laureate with one of the 2017 IFFD Awards, “for her outstanding work at Generations United.”