The Third Age Forum

The Economic Forum  held in Krynica Zdrój is often called Polish Davos. 2 000 guests from 160 countries come there every year. Journalists from over 150 newspaper offices cover these deliberiations. Economic Forum programme consists of 120 debates which are divided into thematic modules. Except for debates, we also can find there intriguing cultural programme which is tailored to your interests. The Third Age Forum is an integral part of the Economic Forum in Krynica, but first things first. Everything started in 2005, when the main organiser of the Economic Forum in Krynica, The Fund Institute of East Studies with Zygmund Brdychowski as its head, invited members of the Sądeckie Forum Of Third Age to participate in sessions of the Economic Forum. In the beginning, there was the group of only 30 people who participated but then, one of attendees wrote in quarterly edited by Sądeckie Forum of Third Age, “There were 1700 guests attending  the Forum. There were big hitters among them like presidents, premiers, ministers, CEOs of central banks, stock exchanges, governmental corporations, media and we – the Third Age Forum members”.

This meeting became an impulse to act and organise our own debating panel for one of the most active groups in our association namely the group of Esperantists. Halina Komar, the chairperson of the association, came up with the idea to connect the linguistic topic to the programme of the Forum. It was wholeheartedly accepted and new linguistic panel was held in 2006. Its topic was “Lingual policy: what is the model for Europe?”  Successfully organised in cooperation with The European Esperanto Union, panels concerning lingual issues have been a permanent element of Economic Forum ever since.

2009 was definitely a landmark year for us. The Sądecki Third Age University in consort with the Polish Nationwide Federation of Associations of The U3A had the opportunity to organise 6th Polish Nationwide Conference of The Third Age University: The Third Age Forum that was financially supported by the Polish and American Liberty Foundation. Over 200 Third Age University representatives from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova sojourned in Sądecczyzna for 3 days  (September 10 to13th, 2009). They proudly represented a vast group of  almost 100 000 The Third Age University members. For the first time, at the 9th Economic Forum, that The Third Age University representatives could participate in plenary sessions of the Economic Forum. They had their own panel as well:“ Intellectual capital of the seniors – the opportunities to use it”. There was another ceremonial plenary session which was held in Business College next day of The Conference. During that session, Jacek Michałkowski, the late director of Polish and American Liberty Foundation, addressed to the listeners. The member of AIUTA management (International Federation of the Third Age University), Dr Nadezda Hrapkowa from Bratislava did it as well.  It was Emilia Chmielowa who talked about Polish organizations in Ukraine. Except for conferences, the participants had also the possibility to attend cultural events.

Thanks to effective organization of Polish Nationwide Conference in 2009, the Economic Forum organiser decided to give the green light to the Sądecki U3A and the Polish Nationwide Federation of Association U3A to organize a concurrent conference: The Third Age Forum.

The mission of The Third Age Forum is to draw attention to challenges that our world, especially Europe, is facing the context of an ageing society.
The Third Age Forum is a platform for exchanging thoughts and organizing meetings. It provides an opportunity to discuss our future. There were 5 different panels within the Third Age Forum, in which, except for  U3A  leaders, representatives of other non-governmental organizations participated. They were politicians, media, representatives of council, scientific and economic environments. Since 2010 the Małopolskie Voivodeship has been the main partner of the Froum. It has been supported also by Polish and American Liberty Foundation, Creative Intitatives Association “ę”, Nowosądecki County, Nowy Sącz City and the Regional Centre of Social Policy in Kraków. The Third Age Forum’s panelists and moderators prepared very interesting post-conference  publication.

During The Third Age Forum in 2011, we were organisers of two panels in Krynica Zdrój. There were also Plenary Session and six workshops for the conference participants in Nowy Sącz. The Third Age Forum lasted from 8 to 10 September in Krynica and Nowy Sącz. It became an opportunity for the representatives of the U3A  not only to share experiences but also to talk to ministers and senators.

The participants of The Third Age Forum act as the vanguard of polish seniors. They laboriously change the image of a poor and sick pensioner who always stands aside. They are independent, they take care of their health and appearance, they are not afraid of the new technology and they try to be trailblazers in different spheres of life.



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