Posted by: bartwoord | August 18, 2010

Opening Speech at IFLRY EC 2010 in St. Petersburg

Dear friends,

A very warm welcome to the IFLRY Executive Committee and Extraordinary General Assembly in St. Petersburg, 2010. And extraordinary it will be!

Thanks to our very effective and hard-working hosts, understanding sponsors and a good show of delegates I am sure that the next 48 hours will be fruitful, tiring and exhilirating.

As you know, we don’t pick our venues randomly. Over the past years our statutory events have been crossing the globe in our mission to globalize freedom. From Singapore to The Hague, from Kiev to Buenos Aires and from Dallas to Sarajevo, we have now reached the pearl of the North called St Petersburg. Of course, i mean both the city and the hotel.

This is a place where liberalism is keeping a foothold in the local branch of the Yabloko, or the apple party. With holding our event here, we also hope that we can provide you the support that you need in the promotion of freedom and democracy. The apple that was so tasty in the nineties, has been shaken from the tree of power, kicked and spit on, and is on the verge of total erosion. Let us help you nurture the seeds which are still present in many of the inspiring young people working for Yabloko around the country, so that it will grow to become a big tree with juicy apples that people from around the region and abroad can have bites in.

Metaphors apart, the situation is really quite grim. One and a half year ago I intended to join an opposition march in moscow but we were chased by the military police from underground station to underground station. A rat race it was. And it doesn’t feel like it is getting better. Less than a week ago demonstrations were repressed and people jailed up, including the well-known liberal opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. The authorities saying that squares outside of the cities are sufficient for the free expression of dissent, is similar to someone saying that the voting for your Popstar or Idol favorite is sufficient for democracy.

The international family of young liberals is there to be of support to those who use violence and repression to silence the voices that speak about freedom and democracy. This is what we call liberal solidarity and is one of our main objectives. We also make sure that our members, from whatever background the come, get the latest insights into managing organizations and promoting liberal politics. This is what we did for example at the seminar we just had and that is another objective. The final objective is the development and dissemination of ideas and policies to tackle international political challenges. That’s among other what we will be doing here.

In order to reach these objectives we come together in Executive Committees and General Assemblies to decide on the direction of our Federation and the various methods we use.

I am looking forward to discussing with you these two days about how to bring our organization forward. We need to be ahead of the curve and make sure we become more dynamic and productive every day. We need to work as hard as possible to make sure that we are in the lead and that socialists, conservatics or any of such malicious groups remain far behind us in spirit and ideas. It is time to start kicking butts, both here in Russia and abroad. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you and let’s rock!

Posted by: bartwoord | November 16, 2009

Candidacy Speech at IFLRY GA

I got elected as the new IFLRY President at the recent General Assembly of the International Federation of Liberal Youth, becoming the first Dutch President since 1989 when Jules Maaten stepped down.

Below my 3-minute candidacy speech:

Dear friends,

I would like to explain how I believe our Federation could become an organization that shows direct value to your daily liberal work. But first I want to take you back four years ago, when I stood in this very same position as a first-time candidate for Secretary General. After a exciting race, I remember very well that at night I had a hard time sleeping as I started to realize what that election could have for an impact on my life. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

Over the years, I played hide-and-seek with the police in a cold Moscow trying to join a dissident protest, I stood in front of 10.000 young Senegalese speeching against a wall of noise, worked with inspiring programme managers, led the revision of the manifesto, restructured a good deal of our Statutes, etc.. And now I am ready for a final two years in which I want to bring all the knowledge and skills that I have accumulated into practice as the next President of our Federation.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to lead a team that engages its work in a strategic, efficient and transparent manner that is much more directly focused on satisfying the interests that our members have in international cooperation. Speaking of these interests, I believe that membership of IFLRY gives you a lead over other political organizations for three reasons:

1. Firstly, you can win elections and strengthen your organizations. All member organizations are faced with often very similar challenges: mobilizing the vote of young people, developing the most effective and efficient internal structures, coping with financial responsibilities, etc. . IFLRY is the clearing house where young liberals come together in order to get inspiration on how to build their organization and wage successful campaigns.

2. Secondly, you can exchange and develop ideas and policies. More and more issues are considered to be international or global in scope, both in terms of sources and solutions. In addition, members from different countries often have to deal with similar policy issues. This all argues for the need of a Federation like ours, to facilitate the gathering of liberal perspectives on issues so that you can adapt them to your own national context. This improves the quality and boosts the credibility of the positions taken by young liberals within their parties as well as within their political and media context.

3. Thirdly, you are part of a movement that directly supports young liberals in authoritarian countries. Within IFLRY, we do not just talk the talk about promoting human rights, we also walk the walk. In different ways, like trainings, documentation and lobbying, we hope to be of support to these young liberals and contribute to the liberalization of their societies.

These three areas constitute the new framework in which I would like to see our Federation working in the coming two years.

They will need to be complemented by a rigorous fundraising effort that will give us the means to turn ambition into action. I am optimistic about the fact that we now have the necessary infrastructure for private fundraising in place and that we have a clear oversight of where to cut expenses and where to make money. Our basic income shall only be used to keep the basic structure of our organization, while all non-essential spending will be further cut.

To wrap up, I would like to tell you that you can count on the same commitment of ideas, energy and responsibility as I believe I have shown over the past years. Our Federation has enormous potential to turn this world into a more free and fair place. I would be honored to contribute my part by becoming the next President.

Thank you for your attention.

Dear friends,

I am proud to announce that the Jonge Democraten (The Netherlands), IFLRY Full Member, has nominated me to run for President of the International Federation of Liberal Youth for the 2009-2011 Bureau. I have worked with great pleasure and commitment as Secretary General of the Federation for the past four years and would be greatly honored to take up this new position for another two. In this letter I want to outline some of the main achievements of our Federation over the past years, as well as identify the challenges to be tackled. Knowing that most of my readers are very busy people, I will try to keep it as dull and technical as possible.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Our Federation has been changing a great deal over the past couple of years. Whereas all high-points have their temporary low-points, I firmly believe that the general direction of the Federation has been going positively upwards. Let me list in random order a selection of some of our main achievements in order for you to get an understanding of where we are now:

- Manifesto: at the upcoming General Assembly, for the first time in more than 15 years, we are presenting a full-fledged revision and modernization of the IFLRY manifesto.

- Official structure: the introduction of Standing Committees, the establishment of regional membership including the regional Bureau representative, and the creation of a Treasurer in the Bureau are just a couple of the significant improvements we made to our Statutes and Rules of Procedure;

- Communication: with regular newsletters, MO mailings, online liberal news center, and coordinated use of social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter we are reaching a greater amount of young people around the world than ever;

- Political profile: we’ve been taking a proactive approach on ongoing topics through statements and targeted lobbying in combination with our communication tools and in partnership with member organizations to grow our political profile; also, by speaking out at different international conferences – like this year’s Geneva Summit – young liberals have gained a strong and credible reputation in global civil society;

- Accounting: particularly after the installment of new accounting software and as a result of the professional work of our office we can boast a clean multiannual record of our financial accounts; in addition, newly adopted control and accounting rules as well as officially adopted membership fee guidelines have increased transparency;

- Statutory events: a greater emphasis on political and skill-related topics through panels, workshops and other side events have made our statutory events more inspiring and rewarding for all, with the EC in Lebanon as a high point;

- Seminars and trainings: specialized training programmes in Western Europe, the Caucusus, the Middle East and South America have made major contributions to the spread of liberal values; moreover, for several years our seminar proposals and reports have received very high marks from our participants and sponsors;

- Partners: strong relationships based on mutual interest with major international partners like FNF, SILC, NDI and Freedom House has enlarged our scope of work and the benefits offered to our membership; notably, the partnership with SFP from Finland has led to our very successful internship programme;

- Liberal solidarity programmes: we have taken strong stances and provided useful support to those young liberals in parts of the world where democracy and human rights cannot be taken for granted; coherent, strategic programmes ensure that our work in this field is effective and efficient;

- Programme managers: the Bureau has appointed three highly qualified and motivated programme managers this year who are showing impressive results for the Federation as a whole;

- Regional development: liberal breakthroughs have been made in, particularly, the Caucasus and the Middle East with high visibility of IFLRY; also, a first pan-African young liberal event in many years was also organized with our support;

- International platforms: engagement with high-level diplomatic initiatives, like the UNFCCC, the Alliance of Civilizations, Council of Europe, the UN Human Rights Council and the UN ECOSOC gives member organizations the opportunity to gain international political experience;

My role over the past years has been one of instigator in some cases, and enthusiastic supporter of new ideas, professionalization and out-of-the-box thinking in others. I have consistently kept my belief in the need to broaden our Federation from one singularly led by the Bureau to one where the member organizations and its representatives take central stage, as reflected in the installment of project managers, the Manifesto revision process and the implementation of the Standing Committees.

Nevertheless, despite this progress, there are several crucial challenges to be tackled by the next Bureau in order to sustain and improve this progress, particularly when it comes to fundraising and the development of a more comprehensive strategy for the Federation in general.

CHALLENGES

Over the past years I have often met representatives who had a hard time explaining to their organization what IFLRY is about and why it is useful for them to pay membership fees and attend events. These are very reasonable concerns and are an indication of the need to work according to more comprehensive, explicable strategies which directly target the needs and interests of IFLRY’s member organizations. While I believe the IFLRY Bureau has done its best in order to work in the interest of its members, it has not done enough in clearly laying out the purposes of IFLRY and hence the benefits of IFLRY membership to its members. Moreover, it should counter the sometimes prevailing perception that IFLRY’s long-time members in democratic countries have little to gain from their membership and are only contributing in order to help young liberals in other countries.

Let me lay down what I believe are IFLRY’s three strategic fields of work and briefly indicate how this directly benefits all of its members:

1. Winning Elections – All member organizations are faced with often very similar challenges: mobilizing the vote of young people, developing the most effective and efficient internal structures, keeping up relations with ‘mother parties’ and coping with financial responsibilities. IFLRY is the clearing house where young liberals come together in order to exchange best-practices on how to build their organization and wage successful campaigns. There is incredibly much to learn from the successful experiences of colleagues and IFLRY is a secure and reliable platform that facilitates such exchanges among like-minded people. Specific training programmes with outside experts can be developed for your organization to benefit from. Virtually or physically, key persons within our members can be connected to exchange knowledge and experience to improve their organizations.

2. Policy Development and Dissemination – In a globalizing world, more and more issues are considered to be primarily international or global in scope, both in terms of sources and solutions. In addition, members from similar countries often have to deal with similar policy issues. IFLRY is the platform where member organizations can exchange policies and gather information about liberal perspectives on an issue and adapt them to their own national context. This improves the quality and boosts the credibility of the positions taken by young liberals within their parties as well as within their political and media context. IFLRY’s presence at international bodies, like the UN Human Rights Council, the UNFCCC, and a range of other platforms, allow us to disseminate our views at high levels as well.

3. Liberal Solidarity – In many parts of the world, young liberals are vulnerable minorities in often hostile environments. Authoritarian governments suppress democratic voices and deny young people their right to freely express themselves. Within IFLRY, we do not just talk the talk about promoting human rights, we also walk the walk. Through providing specific trainings and documentation, raising awareness among young people around the world, and targeted lobbying of officials and politicians, we hope to be of support to ‘local’ young liberals and contribute to the liberalization of their societies. By the virtue of your membership of IFLRY, you directly contribute to the promotion of liberal and democratic values across the world. Be proud of it and use it, for example, in the recruitment of new members.

I would consider it my job as the next President to continuously reiterate these strategic fields as forming the core of our work and explaining the benefits that all of you have in participating in our global project.

The second major challenge is that of our financial resources. Most, if not all, of the above-mentioned achievements have been made without the use of any of IFLRY’s financial resources and our overhead costs are very small. Over the past years, spending has been minimized, with the Bureau cutting most of its expenses to the extent that many Bureau members have contributed substantial private funds for continuing their activities. Major efforts have been undertaken to keep our projects and events running through funding from external partners and donors, with reasonable success. However, these efforts cannot ignore the fact that our financial situation has hit rock-bottom and there is a strong urgency to implement new fundraising policies that can keep the central activities of our organization running.

In close cooperation with the next Treasurer, I will therefore strongly engage myself in setting up the following initiatives and others:

i) Small Donor Programme – Via online donations, liberal sympathizers of our work can show their support by contributing one-time or regular donations; a comprehensive and targeted campaign, coordinated by the Bureau and with the support of the member organizations, should bring in an increasing amount of financial resources;

ii) Alumni & Friends – IFLRY’s history goes back to 1947 and over the years (tens of) thousands of liberals have gone through the ‘IFLRY school’ through their participation in trainings, seminars and statutory events. By providing them with a framework through which they can remain connected to our Federation, a vast pool of experience, contacts as well as financial resources can be created;

iii) Fundraising Events – Several recurring fundraising events with high-profile international speakers can not only provide for interesting meetings for liberals young and old, but can also provide a stream of income that can come to the benefit of the work of our global federation;

iv) Sponsorships for Activities and Administration – Larger donations or funding should be accessed in order to not only more comprehensively cover activities but also our overhead costs;

These initiatives will have to go hand-in-hand with a much more strict, week-by-week monitoring of expenses during the next year. The current fundraising work, specifically where it concerns the cooperation with liberal parties and foundations, should obviously be continued. With the member organizations’ support and trust, I am confident that the next Bureau will be able to pull our organization through these difficult financial times.

I believe that my four years of experience in the IFLRY Bureau has given me a wide range of skills and knowledge that will allow me to develop sophisticated tools and methods in order to build our organization further. This is why I decided to run for another term, this time for the position of IFLRY President.

I am looking forward to engaging in discussions with all IFLRY members on the future of our Federation.

Liberal regards,

Bart

Posted by: bartwoord | May 21, 2009

Changing Azerbaijan – Everything starts from a Dream

By: Emin Milli

We have to understand that the world around us is changing. CHANGE is marching towards Azerbaijan from inside and outside. We have to understand that we have to change together with this world. We can not live on and pretend like nothing can change and change can never come to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is one of the countries on the earth which is in need of so many changes in so many areas of our existence. We need to change value structure of our society, we need to change the mentality of corruption, we need to change authoritarian thinking and attitudes in our families, in our organizations, in our society and in our state. We need to open up our society for values of innovations deeply rooted in our ADR heritage and its spirit. We need to bring back those times when we were ahead of many nations not only of the Moslem world but also of the western world on the level of ideas and values. We need to give our people back their hope and their belief in the bright future our nation truly deserves.

Martin Luther King had dreams and many people never believed that CHANGE of such magnitude is possible at all. Those who oppress want the oppressed ones to believe that CHANGE is not possible. “White” people made “black” people to believe that you can be judged by the skin of your color and not just by the substance of your character. Acceptance of injustice imposed on part of society or the whole society can be sustainable only if oppressed ones accept their status and do not fight to design alternative future. Freedom and justice have always demanded sacrifices, dedication and commitment to the long struggle like our ADR fathers showed throughout their lives.

Dreams of Martin Luther King about freedom for all “black little boys and girls” came true and Barack Obama became the symbol of this DREAM. This symbol of DREAM will become source of internal CHANGE for United States of America, but what is even more important it will also become external source of CHANGE for millions of people and many nations on the Earth. It will give inspiration for CHANGE and will be the beginning of global emotional warming when new alliances for peace and tolerance will be built and forged among nations, races, religions and civilizations.

The powers built on oil and gas will melt down in the ocean of global emotional warming and systems cherishing “stability”, but betraying basic human values will pass away like many other systems in Latin America and Africa in the 20th century. Oil prices will go down and oil will be more and more replaced by alternative sources of energy, concentration camps will turn into plantations of freedom and justice!

Declarations of independence by African states and the fact that black people could come to US from Africa as heads of states, diplomats, businessmen contributed significantly to the changing of the value structure of American people and was one of the factors affecting thinking and attitudes of black Americans who stopped to believe that they deserve to be deprived of voting rights, human dignity, freedom of assembly and many other basic rights and freedoms. They stopped to believe in “stability” and they started to believe in dreams! It is time to start to dream again and to believe in freedom and opportunities for CHANGE! Everything starts from a DREAM!

(This is the English version of my article that was published in the NRC Handelsblad and NRC.next, daily newspapers in the Netherlands.)

On the 7th of May the Eastern Partnership will be signed by the EU and 6 of her eastern neighbors. In the run-up a lot of attention has been devoted to the situation of human rights and democracy in Belarus. Oddly enough the situation in Azerbaijan is being ignored, whereas it should be just as much of concern, if not more.

Of the three Southern Caucasian republics, Azerbaijan is least known among the European public. It is at the crossroads of Russian, Persian and Turkish civilizations and has been dominated, both politically and culturally, by Russia since the start of the 19th century until the end of the 20th. Baku, the capital, was the center of 19th century petrochemical industry and the Nobel brothers as well as the Rothschildt family set up businesses in this swiftly westernizing city. Baku hence still feels very European, both in terms of construction style as well as living style.

The short lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920) was the first Islamic country that implemented full (women) suffrage, remarkably earlier than many Western countries. At the end of the eighties and beginning of the nineties the Azerbaijani independence movement was one of the most strident of all within the Soviet Union and was at the base of the final disintegration of the communist bloc. Especially in the first part of the nineties, Azerbaijan was characterized by a dynamic democratization and a pluriform society, with partly fraudulent but still heavily fought elections.

Unfortunately there is very little to be seen back from that emerging democracy that Azerbaijan promised to become in the nineties. Freedom House marked the country as partly free until 2003, but since then it has been part of the non-free countries. The current dictator, Ilham Aliev, has continued the work of his father, the late leader until his death in 2003, in an all too effective manner and marginalized the opposition by intimidation, bribing and incarceration. Critical journalists are beaten up and students who bring attention to corruption at their universities are kicked out. The remaining media is of a depressing state, as became painfully clear at the recent, and for Azerbaijani standards absolutely unique, shooting attack in Baku where 13 students were murdered. News could only be gathered via Turkish and Russian TV and for those able via some new media, whereas the national media only brought the issue to light a couple of hours later.

Western governments have been closing their eyes for the deteriorating state of human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan for years. Belarus has opportunistically been dubbed the last dictatorship of Europe whereas Azerbaijan as member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE is just as much part of Europe and the government is just as notorious, if not more. During the scarce moments of honesty, Western representatives speak of this discrepancy as resulting from geopolitical considerations, meaning that good relations with the Azerbaijani government are that important for Western interests that human rights issues should be ignored. These considerations come down to the geographical position of Azerbaijan in the middle of Iran and Russia, as well as the role of Azerbaijan as an important alternative oil and gas provider for Russia.

Such opportunistic reasoning obviously turns Western human rights policy into a caricature. What might actually be even more problematic is the fact that such so-called realism testifies a shortsighted understanding of Western interests vis-à-vis Azerbaijan and that this could have disastrous effects already on the short term.

First, only a democratic Azerbaijan is a genuine alternative for Russian energy. The ties between the current Russian and Azerbaijani political elites are just as warm as they were in the past, politically, economically as well as personally. In the case of a further deterioration in the relations between Europa and Russia it will be unlikely that the authoritarian Azerbaijan will drop their Russian colleague. The renown Nabucco tap can be closed in a jiffy after a single call from the Kremlin.

Secondly, the close association of the West with the current regime has led to a sharp decline in the reputation of the West in Azerbaijan as a supporter of democracy. The remaining opposition is still very bitter over the lack of support after the fraudulent presidential elections in 2003, when the West withheld its support for the opposition whereas it did the opposite in similar situations in Georgia and Ukraine. In an environment with lots of dissatisfied youth, and in which the big southern neighbor is Iran, alternative associations are easily found. It is a public secret that radical muslim sects from Iran and the Arabian peninsula are actively promulgating.

Azerbaijan still has the potential to turn into a pluriform, stable democracy, which can be built on top of earlier, autonomous democratic traditions and institutions and hence does not need to be started from scratch. It is time that the West will be taking her own interests seriously and extends her explicit support to the few remaining democratic forces that remain in Azerbaijan, before it is too late.

Posted by: bartwoord | May 6, 2009

Westen moet steun aan regime in Azerbeidzjan intrekken

(Onderstaand het oorspronkelijke artikel wat is ingestuurd naar de NRC Handelsblad redactie. Het is daar verder ingekort en vanmiddag – woensdag – geplaatst; mogelijk ook morgenochtend in NRC Next! Veel geinteresseerde reacties gekregen. Ik hoop dat het op ten duur ook nog wat politieke spin-off gaat krijgen.)

Op 7 mei wordt het Oosterlijk Partnerschap getekend door de EU en zes van haar oosterburen. In de aanloop hiernaartoe is veel aandacht besteed aan de situatie van mensenrechten en democratie in Wit-Rusland. Vreemd genoeg wordt de minstens zo zorgwekkende situatie in Azerbeidzjan, een van de andere partnerlanden, vrijwel volledig genegeerd.

Van de drie Zuidelijk Kaukasische republieken is Azerbeidzjan waarschijnlijk het minst bekend onder de Europese bevolking. Bakoe, de hoofdstad, stond aan de basis van de  negentiende-eeuwse petrochemische industrie en trok ondernemers en investeringen aan vanuit de hele wereld. De bezoeker aan Bakoe zal nog steeds een kenmerkende Europese stijl herkennen, zowel in de architectuur als in de open levensstijl van de bevolking. Ook op politiek niveau heeft Azerbeidzjan zich meermaals van een westerse snit voorzien. De kortstondige Azerbeidzjaanse Democratische Republiek (1918-1920) was het eerste islamitische land dat vrouwen stemrecht toekende, gelijktijdig met Nederland. Aan het eind van de jaren ’80 en begin van de jaren ’90 was de Azerbeidzjaanse onafhankelijkheidsbeweging een van de krachtigste binnen de Sovjet-Unie en stond daarmee aan de basis van het uiteindelijke uiteenvallen van het communistisch blok. Met name in de eerste helft van de jaren ’90 werd Azerbeidzjan dan ook gekenmerkt door een dynamische en pluriforme democratisering, met vrije media en verkiezingen.

Read More…

Posted by: bartwoord | April 27, 2009

Baku, Geneva, Tbilisi, Brussels, Rome, Rotterdam

Last week was one of those weeks in which I lost sense of time and space while on duty for IFLRY. I am still not sure where I have been precisely so allow me to just try recapitulate it with you here.

On Saturday the 18th I left in the earliest hours of the morning my new home base Baku for Geneva, where IFLRY was co-organizing the Geneva Summit for Tolerance, Human Rights and Democracy on Sunday the 19th. Info on the programme, videos as well as pictures (you might see me passing by) are all on http://www.genevasummit.org . The event was attended by representatives of JD (Netherlands) and JFS (Switzerland), as well as Liberal International’s Human Rights Committee Vice-Chair Andy Sundberg. It was an amazing and inspiring event, with lots of emotions particularly due to the personal accounts of victims of human rights abuses. On the 20th I spent most of the day at the actual – fairly notorious – Durban Review Conference at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, where I experienced the tumultous speech by the Iranian President Ahmadinejad from closeby. Thanks to UN Watch for helping me with the accreditation to take part in this conference, by the way!

Next, in the evening of the 20th, I flew to Tbilisi, Georgia, in order to spend a day with the local Young Republicans and talk through the preparations for the upcoming IFLRY seminar there. At the same time, and as some of you may know, there are large and ongoing demonstrations in Tbilisi aimed at forcing President Saakashvili to resign, and the YRs took me with them to take part. The members of the wide coalition organizing the demonstration have all slightly different motivations for asking for his resignation, but the common denominator is that Saakashvili, in all his lunatic authoritarian behavior, is a danger to the country and a threat for democracy in the Caucasian republic.

Another night later – flights in the Caucasus usually arrive and depart in the middle of night, unfortunately – I flew to Brussels, Belgium, in order to have several meetings in and around the European Parliament. I met with Aloys Rigaut, LYMEC President, as well as with colleague Frederik Ferie (IFLRY VP) in the premises of the ELDR party in order to give a briefing on the state of democracy in Azerbaijan (a sad story…).

The next day, we’re speaking of the 23rd now, I took off my IFLRY hat to spend two days on holiday with my mother in Rome, only to fly back to the Netherlands on the 25th to attend the 25th anniversary Congress of the Jonge Democraten, my Dutch Member Organization. Jelena Spasovic, also IFLRY VP, joined the congress as well, together with several international representatives from Jong-VLD (Belgium), YOLDP (Moldova) and SU (Finland). Then the week was finally over and I took a long, long sleep!

Below the press release for the upcoming Geneva Summit. To register for the live webcast, send an e-mail to webcast@genevasummit.org, with “Register” in the subject line. I’ll be moderating the panel between 15.30 and 16.30. If you cannot make it to Geneva, follow us online!

Geneva, Switzerland — Human rights victims, activists and reporters worldwide will be able via the internet to watch and participate in a global summit of human rights activists that will take place in Geneva this Sunday, on April 19, 2009, one day before the opening of the UN Durban Review Conference on racism and discrimination, to urge the international community to address the world’s most severe violations.

Read More…

Posted by: bartwoord | April 12, 2009

Youth Mobility Restrictions in St. Petersburg

Ksenia Vakhrusheva, frequent visitor of IFLRY/LYMEC events, is writing about a new law passed in St. Petersburg that restricts the mobility of young people to go around town. It is a rather odd one. If anyone knows of similar laws in other countries then please let me know.

Posted by: bartwoord | April 1, 2009

Cyberspace’s Promises

I wrote a short item for IFLRY’s Bureau Blog titled ‘Cyberspace’s Promises‘.

Whereas I am really not an IT expert, I do take great interest in the Internet as a new social phenomenon and its implications. The MA thesis that I am currently supposed to be writing touches upon a different aspect of the Internet: its actual physical infrastructure (cables, satellites, ISPs) and the geopolitical dimensions of this structure.

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