During the last Autumn General Assembly, you were voted in as an affiliate member organisation. Could you tell us more about the activities of the foundation and the topics you are interested in?
First of all, we would like to underline how important it is for us to be connected with liberal friends across the Europe. Through our previous educational activities, we have learned a lot from other political parties’ or political foundations’ experience, and this is why we have to stay connected in the future as well. Sharing knowledge and lessons learned in order to build stronger liberal network in Europe is on the top of our priorities. Regarding our planned activities in 2018, our focus will continue to be on strengthening the capacities of young politicians, as well as of female political candidates, and we hope we will be able to further develop our active projects through our affiliated membership in European Liberal Forum (ELF).
This year, you will team up with the Swedish CenterParty International Foundation (CPIF) for the ELF project “Regional Liberal Political Academy”. This successful project will come to its third edition in 2018. How would you assess its development thoughout the year?
The Regional Liberal Political Academy (RLPA) project has thus far yielded excellent results, and each year we see continuous development through the project activities. For the young participants of this academic program, the most effective part of the education is a chance to learn firsthand from the successful examples of political improvement in EU during the third module, which focuses on visits to various EU institutions. Participants’ capacity improvements are evident in each generation, and we already have examples of former participants who are now progressing in their mother parties, through, for instance, their newly appointed positions as president of a Youth Forum, young MPs, international secretaries etc. All of them have confirmed that the RLPA experience has been pivotal in their political journey.
As a foundation, you largely engage with young Liberals from the Balkans. What sort of feedback do you receive from them on your activities and on the state liberalism in the Balkan region?
Staying connected with liberals in the Balkan region is crucial to spread liberalism and combat nationalism. Balkan countries, which are quite small countries, must stay connected and contribute to the development of liberalism on behalf of whole region. Added to this, we must emphasize that if we continue to properly educate young liberals coming from the region, we are sure that some of them will become future European leaders. Therefore, we will continue with our efforts, along with other political foundations, on project activities and hopefully we will fulfill the set goals on our define path of strengthening the capacity of young liberals in the region.