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“Creating the moment and stimulating the dialogue” – that is IAVE’s goal for its convenings. We bring together diverse groups of leaders of volunteering in settings that encourage discussion, reflection and learning. Participants are invited to focus on specific issues challenging volunteering and on how to increase the impact of volunteering on the world’s most pressing problems.

This year, IAVE is pleased to announce the 24th IAVE World Volunteer Conference, hosted by Cemefi (Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía). Our theme – Volunteering for Social Change – recognizes that volunteering is a powerful way in which individual and collective actions can bring needed change to our communities, our countries and our rapidly globalizing world. At the same time, we know that volunteering contributes to our own personal development – building knowledge of the realities of the world, reinforcing our instinct to care and to respond and reminding us of our ability to make a real difference in the lives of others.

Together these two strands – social change and human development – form the framework for our program and accent our goal: to value volunteering as a strategic, high impact action for development.

Learn more about the 24th IAVE World Volunteer Conference

The World Volunteer Conference & World Youth Volunteer Conference

It all began in 1970 when IAVE was born from the vision of our founders that volunteers from throughout the world could come together to share their experiences, to learn from one another and to build bridges across cultural, political and linguistic barriers. The early meetings were known as the “LIVE conferences,” shorthand for “Learn through International Volunteer Effort.”

World Conferences

Since the first world conference in 1970 in Los Angeles, IAVE has convened 22 more times in world conferences. Twice in that time, the conference has deviated from its tradition of meeting in even numbered years – in January 2001 in Amsterdam to kick off the United Nations International Year of Volunteers (IYV) and in January 2011 in Singapore in celebration of the 10th anniversary of IYV.

The structure of the conferences always includes plenaries with challenging and inspiring speakers; forums that dig deep into challenging issues confronting the field; workshops that are designed to present new ideas, expose highly effective practices and stimulate participant dialogue; and, ample time to meet informally and to learn about the host country.

Below is a complete list of IAVE world conferences:

  • 1970 – Los Angeles, USA
  • 1972 – Manila, Philippines
  • 1974 – Nairobi, Kenya
  • 1976 – San Francisco, USA
  • 1978 – Istanbul, Turkey
  • 1980 – Cret Berard, Switzerland
  • 1982 – Oxford, UK
  • 1984 – Bogota, Colombia
  • 1986 – Sydney, Australia
  • 1988 – Washington, DC, USA
  • 1990 – Paris, France
  • 1992 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1994 – Tokyo, Japan
  • 1996 – Cape Town, South Africa
  • 1998 – Edmonton, Canada
  • 2001 – Amsterdam, Netherlands (Kick-off of International Year of Volunteers)
  • 2002 – Seoul, South Korea
  • 2004 – Barcelona, Spain
  • 2006 – New Delhi, India
  • 2008 – Panama City, Panama
  • 2011 – Singapore (Kick-off of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers)
  • 2012 – London, UK
  • 2014 – Gold Coast, Australia
  • 2016 – Mexico City, Mexico

World Youth Volunteer Conferences

The IAVE World Youth Volunteer Conference has been held in conjunction with eight of the world conferences. Typically scheduled in the few days prior to the world conference, these are special opportunities for young volunteers, up to age 25, to meet together, volunteer together, learn and reflect together, and begin relationships that can last for many years.

Regional Conferences

Between world conferences, IAVE sponsors regional conferences. These are opportunities for more people to participate and to discuss both global and regional issues. The schedule for 2015 includes:

Regional conferences always include either a companion youth conference or integration of youth participants and presenters into the conference program.

Special Interest Convenings

Every year, IAVE holds one or more special convenings to focus attention on issues of significant interest to target audiences:

The World Summit for Youth Volunteering, held every 10 years, the first in Tokyo, Japan in 2001; the second in Barranquilla, Colombia in 2011.

The first Global Dialogue on Corporate-NGO Volunteer Partnerships, held in London in December 2012 with a focus on disaster settings, explored both the dynamics of partnerships and the role of corporate volunteers in the whole spectrum of disaster-related activities. View the report of this dialogue.

Youth, Volunteering and Employment, held in London in December 2012, explored how volunteering can help young people build skills, behaviors and experiences that will help them enter the world of paid work. View the report of this dialogue.

IAVE also regularly hosts convening of members of its key constituent networks – the Global Network of National Volunteer Centers, the Global Corporate Volunteer Council, and our the IAVE Leadership Network.

Hosting an IAVE Conference

All IAVE conferences are held in cooperation with a local host organization that has been chosen through an open bid process. To express interest in hosting a future IAVE conference, please email [email protected] with information about your organization. IAVE only considers expressions of interest from NGOs that play leadership roles in support of volunteering. Inquiries directly from event management companies and venues are not considered.

We are now accepting proposals for the 2018 World Volunteer Conference. Please fill out the form here.