2017, this year is the 'Year of the Rooster (fire Rooster)' according to Chinese zodiac. Rooster is a symbol of fidelity and punctuality, as in the past, our ancestors who had no alarm clock, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start to work. 

For me, and maybe for GSEF, this year of 2017 has really been the year of Rooster.  After the founding Forum of GSEF in Seoul in November 2014, the second Forum was held with 1500 participants representing 62 Countries, 330 Cities including nearly 200 local governments' representatives, in September 2016 in Montreal, Canada. It was not just a quantitative growth of the association of the GSEF, but our journey also had been from the search for "Solidarity for Change" in 2014 moved to build "Allies for the intelligent and sustainable development of cities" by the Local Government and Social Economy (SE) stakeholders in 2016. And the year 2017, we had been busy, maybe too busy to build a multi-lateral partnership with various SE stakeholders, including International organizations such as ILO, UNRISD, etc., and not least, also with youth who are engaged in developing SE.

Now, we are revisiting our values, and our impacts & competitiveness as change makers, as alternative project of our economy & society in the 21st century in order to discern our roles & responsibilities with the continuous question, what path should take to achieve an inclusive and sustainable development of our economy & cities?

Well, our third Global Forum in 2018 in Bilbao will certainly give us some lights, directions, new vision of innovations and good examples and cases that will illustrate this path. 2018 is the Year of Earth Dog, a symbol of "Communicative, serious, responsible in work". Yes, this is what we need to prepare well our 2018 GSEF Forum in Bilbao!!!

To begin this year of 2018, let me wish you all a very blessed and gracious season, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2018.


- Laurence KWARK, General Secretary of GSEF