Today the European Economic and Social Committee hosted the twelfth European Fourth World People’s University, meeting this time on the theme of ‘Citizens united for a Europe active against persistent poverty,’ and jointly organised by the ATD Fourth World Movement and the EESC. The universities provide a space for dicussion and reflection with people living in poverty, in order to find, learning from their personal experiences, ways to fight sever poverty. The event brought together some 180 delegates from eleven European countries – people who have themselves experienced persistent poverty – and representatives of the European institutions and other players in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The University, which was opened by EESC President Staffan Nilsson and closed by the Chairwoman of the Committee’s Social Affairs and Employment Section, Leila Kurki, broke up into three workshops addressin the themes of: ‘citizenship and living together with our differences’; ‘citizenship and access to fundamental rights to all’; and ‘citizenship, participation of all and representation of people living in poverty.’ For, as President Nilsson said in his opening address, ‘Poverty is not only a material problem resulting from the distribution of wealth; it means also being deprived of the fundamental right to civil and political participation.’ The University was a nice example of the way the EESC throws its doors open to all aspects of organised civil society.