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.


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