IAVE is best known for its biennial World Volunteer Conferences and affiliated World Youth Volunteer Conferences. The world conferences have run in an unbroken sequence since 1970. These are major events in the world of volunteering, attracting a global audience, distinguished speakers and skilled and experienced workshop presenters. IAVE members in individual countries bid to run the conference, with the result that the conference moves around the world:
Every 10 years IAVE celebrates a World Summit for Youth Volunteering, an event, made by youth and for youth, that seeks to connect young volunteers from all regions of the world.
The 1st Summit was in Tokyo in 2001, and the 2nd Summit took place in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 2011.
In November 2011, the IAVE and Partners of the Americas joined forces to celebrate the work of young volunteers who congregated at the 2nd IAVE World Summit for Youth Volunteering, a unique event made by youth and for youth, that took place in Barranquilla, Colombia.
The scope of this event grew positively during the time of its preparation, all guided by the needs that the same volunteers expressed using different social media tools to connect around a correspondents strategy that serve as a way to engage participants, and allowed us to have over 50 regional young representatives in every corner of the planet sharing the message of the Summit.
The results were visible: nearly 900 young volunteers from over 30 countries met to explore different ways to increase social inclusion and civic participation through volunteering. We selected 8 keynote speakers and 115 panelists from a vast number of applications, all of them were able to present in 3 plenary sessions and 55 panels related to youth volunteering experiences. We also developed different strategies such as the Heroes of the Millennium contest, to celebrate the work of youth volunteers worldwide.
The Summit also reached out to over a 1000 participants connect through video streaming and had the support of 23 sponsors from the public and private sector, including the Colombian government and multinational corporations.
In the years between IAVE World Volunteer Conferences, we work through the elected Regional Representatives on the Board of Directors and national/local partners to convene Regional Conferences. Designed to fit the priorities and perspectives of each region, these conferences enable us to reach many more people than can ever come to a world conference, to build local capacity and to strengthen our priority networks.
In each conference we develop a parallel Youth Conference or Youth Track, to get to know more about the work that youth volunteers are doing in each region, analyzing their lessons learnt, the struggles the go through and the needs they face when performing their service activities.