Am 26. September 2016 fand am Schulschiff ein internationales NGO-Treffen zum Thema "Altern" (Ageing) statt. Teilgenommen haben dabei unter der Begleitung von Mag.a Kamil und Mag.a Sengstbratl auch neun Schüler/innen des Schulschiffs, die sich lebhaft an der englischsprachigen Diskussion beteiligten. Im Folgenden die englische Zusammenfassung (Minutes) des Meetings.

Gäste vom Schulschiff: Mag.a Deborah Kamil, Mag.a Gerda Sengstbratl, Felix Ganster, Leona Emenoge, Moritz Maurer, Angelina Jovic, Evelin Balogh (alle 5C), Kamila Iliasova (5A), Sara Petrovic (7BC), Lennart Bein & Christian Harjung (beide 8BC)

Minutes of the IDOP Celebratory Meeting on 26 September, 2016 at Schulschiff "Bertha von Suttner", Donauinselplatz, A-1210 Wien

The Chair welcomed all guests and members present and, in particular, the pupils who came to attend this meeting.   And in the name of the Board and all members of the NGO CoA Vienna she thanked Deborah Kamil who had made it possible to hold this celebratory meeting on the Schulschiff, a very special location for a very special meeting to celebrate IDOP. Further, and foremost, very special thanks to Deborah Kamil were also expressed for making it possible, once again, to organise this celebratory meeting as an intergenerational meeting by finding quite a number of pupils who were ready and interested enough to stay on in school in the afternoon to come to discuss together with members and other guests on age-relevant topics and to give the older participants of this meeting their views, experiences and opinions on age and older persons. Then Co-Chair Dirk Jarré took over to introduce the topic and moderate the debate. After expressing a particularly hearty welcome to the pupils, he explained the planned structure of the

Dirk Jarré then spoke about the International Day of Older Persons, a day proclaimed by the UN to highlight the importance of the older population and all topics related to them. For the Vienna NGO Committee on Ageing, however, it is important to look at the intergenerational aspects rather than dealing only with questions related to older persons and ageing.

It was stressed that older persons as well as young persons are natural parts of society, and the quality of a society is shown also by how the older persons in this society are treated. The goal should be to have a society of all ages and for all ages. Human dignity and self-determination is important for all ages, also for the very old and frail. But it is important to bear in mind that all inter-action goes in both directions: there has to be support for those who need it, but persons of all ages have also to ask themselves how they can contribute to society. Participation in society, participation in decision-making is important for all – young and old.

This meeting was a special occasion to hear what younger persons have to say. The pupils had prepared some texts showing their relationships with the older generations, with their grandparents and other older relatives:

Highlights taken from pupils’ prepared presentations: All of them stressed the importance of their communication with grandparents and other older relatives. They felt it was crucial to be able to hear and speak in order to continue to participate in family life and in society in general. There was admiration for older persons who were positive in spite of the pains they felt more and more frequently with age. The pupils said that they admired the positive attitude their grandparents had, their interest in politics, their interest in learning new things and in travelling, their ability to help the grandchildren with their schoolwork, and one pupil said that her grandfather showed that he was proud of her and that was a wonderful feeling. Some of the grandparents had had very difficult lives, had seen fighting and had to leave their countries of origin. The pupils also spoke of grandparents who led unhealthy lives, were heavy smokers, unhappy because they were old, because many friends of their own age were already dead.  They expressed regret because of not having known some older relatives better before they died, and they spoke of the good times they spent with grandparents, the good food they got there, the fact that they spoke seriously with their grandchildren, and had the time to explain things. In all these stories about the relationships of the younger participants with their grandparents or other older relatives it became apparent: age was not the determining factor of the relationship; age was seen as just a number. There was agreement that age does not tell us anything about the attitude, about capacities, about the person’s interest in new technologies, etc.  But all the pupils saw loneliness as a problem in old age.   When the pupils were asked what wishes they had for the future, they were almost unanimous in their wishes regarding travelling and seeing the world, experiencing interesting things, but also having a family and, when old, being a “cool” grandparent who is open for what the grandchildren can tell. But the young persons also expressed the wish to change something, to make the world a little bit better, to engage in social work.

From all the contributions given by the pupils during this meeting Dirk Jarré drew the conclusion that this was a generation we can trust: open, interested in new things, respecting other cultures and other generations – a really great new generation to be proud of!

The final question to the pupils was: what do you take away of this afternoon? One of the answers was that the pupils intend, in the future, to spend more time with grandparents and parents, being aware of the fact that they will not be here forever. And the pupils said that projects together with older persons could be a lot of fun. In such projects they had seen that older persons were like them, they reacted like them and they also enjoyed playing games like them.