Tamka 34 lok. 14, PO 00-355, Warszawa, Poland





The Democratic Society East (DSE) foundation is a public Polish institution (registration number: 0000137258) founded in Autumn 2002. Its main objective consists in investigating and promoting projects aimed at strengthening civil society in countries undergoing transformation. Since its inception, the foundation has struggled to develop and implement initiatives focused on the defense of democracy and civil society while simultaneously offering support to local communities. Many of these initiatives are translated into research and development projects managed from the foundation. Within this line of action, the work carried out with this group of seniors becomes especially important, since they are individuals at risk of social exclusion and closely linked to their local context who represent the cornerstone of Polish society, especially taking into account the progressive ageing of the population. In this sense, the foundation has been working since 2007 with the social segment of older adults in Warsaw, running the Open University of the Third Age whose main objective is to offer high-quality academic and cultural training for them. The institution offers a wide range of training courses, cultural activities, courses related to health and physical activity, visits associated with heritage and travel especially adapted to the needs and interests of seniors. These activities are organized every academic year within a training programme that includes activities both in Poland and abroad. Active methods of enjoying free time are especially encouraged: in particular, those which encourage healthy habits among inactive older adults, while reinforcing bonds and intergenerational cooperation. The University currently has 160 students enrolled. In addition, although the foundation is a newly-arrived institution with regard to European projects, it has a lot of experience in the development of other types of initiatives and, therefore, can contribute to the development of this proposal with effective management strategies within multicultural environments, along with knowledge about media and dissemination, especially in Eastern European countries, as attested by programmes such as "Media in Civil Society" (an initiative developed in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia). Furthermore, the association is strongly committed to issues related to heritage and cultural promotion. In fact, these topics stand out as an essential part of the training programme of the Open University of the Third Age and one of the main points of interest for students; hence why the present project will directly benefit students and lecturers. The foundation offers experience in the preparation of tourist visits to places of interest as far as heritage is concerned, which in turn will serve as the basis for the design of active heritage routes. Moreover, it also offers an efficient system of dissemination and exploitation of results and intellectual products through the national and international contact network (with other Eastern European countries).