1 October, International Day of Older Persons was marked this year by opening a photo exhibition in the pedestrian zone of Belgrade entitled “We Are the Champions”. The exhibition is organised in partnership between the Red Cross of Serbia and Commissioner for Protection of Equality through projects “Taking Action on Social Inclusion of Older People” and “Bridge of Understanding – Intergenerational Solidarity” with understanding and support of the Cabinet of the Minister without portfolio responsible for demographics and social policy in the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

The 28th consecutive marking of the International Day of Older Persons was dedicated this year to equality and human rights of older persons aligning with the 70th anniversary of the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The photo exhibition “We Are the Champions” celebrates dignity and contributions of older people to the society, highlighting that social inclusion of older people in all the segments of a society is essential for the society’s development. Additionally, participation of American photographer Harvey Lloyd in the exhibition, an artist who, at the age of 92 is not only still active and creative but who has radically changed his style upon turning 80, is the best possible demonstration of the value of healthy and active ageing.

The exhibition was officially opened on 1 October 2018 in the Belgrade’s pedestrian zone through a programme with following participants: Red Cross of Serbia representatives, representatives of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, older and young volunteers of the Red Cross of Serbia, young winners of the contest on literary works, paintings and photos on ageing and older people in Serbia, United States Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Kyle Scott, European Union Delegation in Serbia Head of Cooperation, Mr. Yngve Engstrom and Mr. Harvey Lloyd, photographer. The event was conducted by Ms. Natasa Todorovic, Red Cross of Serbia associate.

The Red Cross of Serbia President, Prof Dr Dragan Radovanovic spoke about the activities that the National Society organises for and with older people, from traditional support programmes through self-help groups for older people, to initiatives for social inclusion and intergenerational support. He specifically pointed out the importance of the regional project “Taking Action on Social Inclusion of Older People” coordinated in five Western Balkans countries by the Red Cross of Serbia and supported by European Union, Austrian Development Agency and Austrian Red Cross.

Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Ms. Brankica Jankovic spoke about the importance of intergenerational solidarity and cooperation and the project “Bridge of Understanding – Intergenerational Solidarity” that collects literary works, paintings and photos on ageing and older people in Serbia from primary school students.

The European Union representative, Mr. Yngve Engstrom talked about demographic changes that are very pronounced in Europe and the need for societies to adapt to population ageing through adapting labour marketm ensuring greater recognition for what older people bring to society and empowering people as the yage so they remain in charge of their own lives as long as possible, living a healthy life.

United States Ambassador, Mr. Kyle Scott talked about the countries where demographic ageing is not as intense at the moment and their need to be prepared for the future that will ask them to adapt to bigger population of older people, stressing that they can learn from the countries that are facing this challenge and coming up with solutions at the moment, such as Serbia.

Mr. Harvey Lloyd, photographer, still active and creative spoke about the need to recognise that today’s society was created by older people and that this is why they deserve respect, love and every kind of support imaginable. He also thanked the Red Cross of Serbia for organising this exhibition stressing its sense of dignity and innovation it brings.

The exhibition “We Are the Champions” will be free to visit in the Belgrade pedestrian zone until 7 October.