We Are the World…A revitalized Global Network

We recently received some welcome and encouraging news from Tulip Shah, the Managing Director of the AARP Global Network, who visited Toronto to update us on the status of the Network. Over the past six months Tulip has been in consultation with all of the partners in the AGN (AARP, CARP, DaneAge in Denmark, 50 e Piu in Italy, ANBO in the Netherlands, and the Dignity Foundation in India) to create ways to keep the network relevant and operating. Earlier this year the network had a severe budget cut back and it wasn’t certain that the network could continue to function. The consultations with all of the partners re-affirmed the collective sense of the importance of the network and while scaled back in resources, both human and financial, I’m pleased to report that it is back on track with budget and commitments from the partner organizations to sustain the network. I thought I would summarize Tulip’s update regarding the future of the AARP Global Network.

In keeping with the original mandate, the objective of the AGN is to facilitate communication, collaboration and research among the member organizations on matters relating to the needs and interests of their members and generally an aging population. Another goal is to create reciprocal benefits that our respective members can enjoy when they travel to AGN member countries.

A fundamental shift in how the Network operates going forward will be the significant increase in peer-to-peer interactions and exchanges. The new framework has been designed to promote significantly more interaction among the organizations. In addition to organization-to-organization interaction the network hopes to encourage and promote social interaction among the members of our organizations as well.

A new Network portal with many features – news, trends, Network updates, knowledge resources, peer discussion groups – will also be key to facilitating peer interaction. There is a lot of newsworthy and regularly updated content that each organization can either use directly or re-purpose for our respective communications vehicles to reach our membership. Significantly enhancing member benefits and the member experience is another key imperative for all the member organizations. A Reciprocity workgroup will examine and recommend how to further improve on the existing reciprocity framework. Additionally, this workgroup will be responsible for ensuring that the member organizations are expanding the reciprocal benefits portfolio and coordinating negotiations among the organizations with the global/regional service providers.

Another, area of focus for the Network will be cross-promoting member events among the Network organizations. Member events can provide a unique and enjoyable experience not only for our respective members but also provide an opportunity to the member organizations to collaborate and further strengthen organizational ties. In 2010 and 2011 the goal is to more pro-actively facilitate opportunities for members to attend events like the CARP Conference, Zoomer Show and ideaCity in Toronto, AARP’s Life@50+ in Orlando, 50ePiù’s Olympiad in Sicily. There is also some initial discussion about organizing socio-volunteerism tour project opportunities. The intent of such volunteerism tour projects would be to have a small number of members from each of the member organizations come together and work on projects in developing countries. There is growing alignment among the member organizations in terms of focus for the next couple years, including: