Who can argue with United Invitation's statement: "Building trust is what we need in society... and having fun is never a bad idea!"
Certainly not us! Say hello to United Invitations, a socially motivated organisation, they believe that interaction and dialogue are the most powerful forces in improving social inclusion.
It all started out in Sweden, when their founder, Ebba, realised that there just weren't enough opportunities for immigrants and Swedes to interact. Working from an incredibly simple idea, one which has been with us since humans landed on earth, United Invitations create interaction by inviting strangers to come together over a meal.
An Age Old Idea
United Invitations point out that; "humans have been sharing meals for thousands and thousands of years, so it's not like anyone has a patent on the idea. In most cultures, if you are newly arrived, people will automatically invite you over to their house. In many other cultures we have completely fogotten about that kind of hospitality as a gateway to understanding a new society."
UI provide the online meeting place and communication support to set up the dinner, but the night itself is up to the host and guests! They certainly aren't claiming that you can change the world through hosting one dinner party, but who knows what can come out of a good conversation across the dinner table!
A Solution To An Ever-Growing Problem
A whopping 3.4 million people migrated to an EU country in 2013, and these numbers are continuing to grow with the large numbers of refugees fleeing conflict and persecution and seeking asylum in Europe. It makes sense then, that the organisation's only "rule" is that at least one of the participants must be someone who has recently moved to the country. This means that their goal of driving and supporting the integration of new migrants or asylum seekers can be truly fulfilled!
We certainly agree that everyone, no matter where they come from, should feel welcomed and included within society! And, in the face of ever more unequal and divided societies, there's no better time than now for us to reinvent how we interact with people outside of our immediate friends and family.
At Ben & Jerry's, we believe that a lot of the growing levels of social exclusion we are seeing around the world are because we don't have opportunities to interact outside of our little bubbles. We are social animals, and when interacting with different cultures, races, religions and beliefs are at the heart of what it means to be human, it is so important that we create these opportunities for communities and individuals from all walks of life to interact. United Invitations... we salute you!
To hear more about United Invitations, from their founder Ebba at Geneva's Peace Talks in September, click here.