Dates: 17 – 20 September 2009 Place: Helsinki
FOCIR organised a study trip to Finland to learn about the coordinated foreign policy spaces that exist between civil society and the Finnish government. The Catalan delegation held meetings over four days with different Finnish organisations as well as various government departments.
The cooperation between civil society and the Finnish government is comprised by members of associations, including the Finnish Foreign Policy Youth Forum, which is a coordinated space between the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and youth associations. Given that other Finnish associations are also actively involved in and maintain close relationships and contact with different institutions, the Catalan delegation wanted to learn about how Finnish associations view the different kinds of connections and models of coordination. The main goal behind this was to determine whether the Finnish model could be applied to Catalonia and how mechanisms for consultation and coordination between the government and civil society organisations could be developed.
Several applications were received, but the final Catalan delegation consisted of six people: Marc Cases, International Manager of ESPLAC (Esplais Catalans), Joan Francesc Gras, Patron of the PuntCAT Foundation, Meritxell Montserrat, Member of the Board of the SCIC (Secretariat de Corals Infantils de Catalunya), Mariana Gavris, of the Xarxa Europea de Serveis Civils de Pau, Mònica Sabata, President of FOCIR and Eulàlia Pascual, Spokesperson for the Board of FOCIR and President of the Grup de Juristes Roda Ventura.