A word about the meeting room first (picture). It was here that the 1989 Round Table talks were held (the table in question, with the original nameplates of the participants still in place, is on display elsewhere in the Palace). As far as I could see, the only thing that had changed in the room was the carpet. Otherwise, as with the banks of the Vistula earlier in the morning, I had a real sense of history. The keynote speaker was Lester Salamon, Professor and Director of the Centre for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies (Baltimore). In an interesting opening aside, he informed his audience that his mother and father came from Romania and Hungary respectively so, in a sense, he was back in the parental homelands of Eastern Europe (which reminds me of a wonderful American description of Europe given by fellow writer Cleve Moffet in a recent submission; ‘a continent of ancestors’). Salamon launched what was to be a fascinating day’s discussion. In part, the discussion was enlivened by a misapprehension, for some participants mistakenly believed that Salamon was talking from a normative point of view. But his primary theme was that, although volunteering is ‘an enormous “renewable resource” for societal problem solving’, it remains strangely unquantified. On the basis of admittedly wonky statistics, Salamond argued that ‘EU Volunteerland’ would be the most populous member state (115.9 million people) with a GDP just slightly smaller than Sweden’s (€ 282 billion). Through a UN Handbook and an ILO Manual, Salamon was hoping that the phenomenon could be better measured and thus better understood. This is perhaps of particular importance to Europe, which has the highest proportion of volunteers.