JDC is Key Player in Multi-Faith Conference on Social Services

This past week, if you wanted a hands-on feel for JDC’s important role in building not only Jewish life but community and leadership across Europe and beyond, London was the place to be.

First stop: Lambeth Palace.

Over the past three days, more than 40 UK Government officials and leading social welfare professionals working for faith-based organizations in France, Israel, and the UK have been sharing expertise and program models in the area of social welfare at a landmark conference organized by the JDC International Centre for Community Development (JDC-ICCD). JDC-ICCD is a UK charity foundation created by JDC and based in Oxford University that is devoted to understanding and analyzing communities, minorities and social needs.

Sponsored by the Buncher Family Foundation and hosted at official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the conference brought together a diverse group of participants—including, among others, Jews, Muslims, Arab Christians, and Druze—to discuss best practices for developing and operating programs that help children at risk and the elderly, as well as deal with microfinance.

Marcelo Dimentstein, Operations Director of the JDC-ICCD, pointed out that the opportunity to increase knowledge and cooperation among professionals from different faiths can vastly improve the delivery and effectiveness of social welfare services in Europe and beyond.

For these and other reasons, the conference’s illustrious opening speaker, Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE—former UK Government Lead Advisor on Volunteering, a member of the House of Lords, the second woman to graduate as a liberal rabbi, and prolific author on the subject of aging—said she has waited 30 years for such a critical initiative and congratulated JDC on making it happen.

Other prominent keynote speakers included: Lord Wei (an advisor to the UK Government’s Big Society initiative), Priya Lukka (Senior Officer at the UK Financial Services Authority), and Asim Siddiqui (Banker and Executive Member of CEDAR, the European Muslim Professionals Network).

Tomorrow’s stop...nearby in London for a European JCC conference.

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