Generously hosted by the South Eastern European Indigenous Grantmakers Network (SIGN) from the Balkans, the 18th annual Grantmakers East Forum (GEF) took place on 16 – 18 October in Belgrade, Serbia.
LEARNing, REFLECTing and CONNECTing is what GEF is all about! This echoes the continued GEF mission of supporting, learning, networking and collaborating amongst grantmakers to promote civil society development. By providing funders with a platform to discuss their grantmaking efforts the Forum helps participants to be inspired and encourages new donor activity.
Belgrade was selected to host this year’s GEF as the largest urban complex of the Balkans. Situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe. During 7,000 years of its long and turbulent history, Belgrade has been conquered 40 times and the same number of times it has risen from the ashes. With over 1,7 million citizens today, Belgrade represents not only the official capital of the Republic of Serbia, but also its cultural, educational, scientific, political, economic and social centre. Nearly 11,000 various cultural and social events are held in Belgrade each year, such as the film festival FEST, the music festival BEMUS, the theatre festival BITEF and the Belgrade summer festival BELEF.
This year, GEF gave participants an unforgettable experience from the Balkans – a region where global lessons are learnt on the ground and where people had no other choice but to innovate. Innovative NGOs, entrepreneurs, politicians and leaders were brought together to share how they address the issue of TRANSPARENCY while trying to tackle growing social and economic issues.