After a short and intense time of preparation, nearly 200 people participated in the first NOIVA Forum on Saturday, January 9, 2016 – a diverse event with interesting personalities and exciting contributions. Michael Künzle, Winterthur’s town president, openend the forum with an appreciative and hopeful message for Winterthur, for Stiftung NOIVA’s work and for the humanitarian commitment, followed by NOIVA president Andi Kunz welcoming the visitors on behalf of NOIVA.
The afternoon program allowed insights and glimpses into the humanitarian work as well as future projects of Stiftung NOIVA. Visitors were deeply impressed by the images and reports. Among others, Adrian Brüngger, head coach of Pfadi Winterthur Handball, as well as Michael Meier, who also completed some field work with Pfadi Winterthur Handball, shared personal statements, as did other previous participants. And having arrived to specifically be at the forum, last but not least the NOIVA team reported about their experiences and adventures of the past one and a half years they have spent in Jordan so far. Contributions of the musical kind made sure there were moments to take a breather during the packed program.
After dinner, two panel discussions with representatives from the worlds of sport, politics and business took place. Apart from local Winterthur personalities – such as Barbara Günthard-Maier and Markus Wenger, president of the Grosser Gemeinderat (town council) of Winterthur – even Jordanian politicians had arrived. NOIVA was also able to welcome to the panel Israeli ambassador Yjgal B. Caspi and a representative of the EDA, Markus Baechler. It was on purpose that political solutions were not the primary topic of discussion, but rather opportunities and approaches holding civilians responsible.
A message of reconciliation wrapped up the event: in his closing statement, Andi Kunz summarized how important it is to connect humanitarian work and «giving yourself» to altruism and reconciliation – both defining NOIVA’s values and attitude. These two pillars, he emphasized, are the basis for sustainable solutions.