Conference Report: IFS International Conference 2023 and FCSF Congress

23 / 05 / 2023 | News

Date: May 11-14, 2023

Location: Lille Grand Palais, France.

Theme: Democracy and Social Justice



The IFS International Conference 2023, held in conjunction with the FCSF Congress, took place in France from May 11th to May 14th. With the central theme of “Democracy and Social Justice,” the conference aimed to bring together members of the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS) to discuss and explore strategies for promoting democracy and social justice worldwide. The event was attended by nearly a hundred IFS members representing various countries and continents.

Conference Highlights:

Workshops and Presentations: The conference featured a diverse range of workshops and presentations, totaling around 12 in number. These sessions provided a platform for participants to share their knowledge, experiences, and research on topics related to democracy and social justice. The workshops facilitated interactive discussions and allowed attendees to delve deeper into specific areas of interest.

 IFS Board Meeting: On Thursday, May 11th, the IFS held its board meeting. During this session, Ms. Mervi Janhunen-Ruusuvuori, Executive Director of Setlementti Tampere ry in Finland, and Ms. Lyn Lormer, Local Community Services Association(LCSA), Australia have been elected to the Board of the International Federation of Settlements and Neighbourhood Centres (IFS) for the next two years. We are sending our best wishes for a happy and successful time at IFS board!

IFS General Assembly: The IFS General Assembly took place on May 12th, bringing together the entire IFS membership present in Lille. The assembly served as a platform for important discussions, decision-making, and updates on the organization’s activities. Notably, a “Fishbowl” conversation on racial equity strategies in settlement organizations in New York was held, with participants from different countries and organizations invited to contribute their insights and experiences.

FCSF Congress: The IFS conference was an integral part of the FCSF Congress, which celebrated its 100th anniversary. The congress attracted around 4,000 participants from France and its surrounding regions. The event featured plenary sessions, workshops, and a variety of engaging activities. The French Minister of Solidarity joined the congress with a presence and delivered a speech.

Closing Speech: Pentti Lemmetyinen, the President of the IFS, delivered a closing speech to conclude the conference. He expressed gratitude to all the parties involved in organizing the event and emphasized the importance of small acts in creating significant societal change. Read Pentti’s speech below


The IFS International Conference 2023, held in conjunction with the FCSF Congress, successfully brought together a diverse group of individuals committed to democracy and social justice. Through workshops, presentations, and discussions, participants explored strategies, shared knowledge, and developed a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in promoting social justice worldwide. The event was a testament to the collective dedication and passion of the IFS members and the broader settlement community. As the conference concluded, participants left with renewed inspiration and a commitment to pursuing both small and large acts that contribute to a more just and democratic society.