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!


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