Let the trumpets sound, the banners fly, Federal International Relations Committee has met…

The Federal International Relations Committee held its inaugural meeting in central London on 28 January which, for those of us living beyond the M25, meant a rather early start, albeit for a good cause. And we had much to do, not all of it entirely political.

For, with any new body comes a panoply of administration which, although rather dull, is essential to making sure that, when decisions are taken, they are valid. We had, fortunately, elected a Chair in advance, as only one of the directly elected members, Robert Woodthorpe Browne, applied for the post. Standing Orders have been adopted, a secretary elected, and a communications plan initiated.

The bureaucracy dealt with, the Committee looked at forthcoming business. Liberal International is currently drafting a new manifesto, timed for release during its Congress in Andorra in mid-May. 2017 sees the Liberal International reach its seventieth birthday, and the new document is intended to be a reboot of the original “Oxford Manifesto”, written in the shadow of World War 2, which espoused a liberal platform for the rebuilding of peace and democracy after such a calamity. But time moves on, and global liberalism faces new challenges. I’ll report more on this in the coming weeks.

ALDE Party Council meets in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 1-3 June, and preparations for our delegation are underway. We send a delegation of seven members, five elected directly by the membership, plus the Party President and the Chair of the Committee. The Committee noted that we need to design a process to open up our delegation to the Annual Congress to the wider membership.

We received a report from Harriet Shone, the Party’s International Officer. Harriet is extremely busy at the moment, delivering a range of projects in such places as Bulgaria, Georgia and Kenya, with particular emphasis on the forthcoming African Liberal Network General Assembly, scheduled to take place in Nairobi in March. A pan-African youth conference will take place in the same venue just beforehand, and Harriet and our two new interns, Niklas and Mikaela, are working hard to make both events a success.

The Secretary General of Liberal International, Emil Kirjas, came to take part in our discussion after lunch as we explored how the organisation could be more effective and how it might evolve to play a role in developing liberalism in places where it is currently weak, as well as supporting liberal administrations around the world.

The afternoon was spent discussing a strategy for the Committee. According to the Constitution, the Federal Board sets the strategy for our Committee, but in the early days of the new governance arrangements, there is scope for a two-way dialogue and we’re keen to find ways of adding value to the Party’s campaigning activities, both through outreach with diaspora communities in the United Kingdom, but also with British citizens living abroad, encouraging them to register to vote and, more importantly, to vote Liberal Democrat.

As already noted, we adopted a communications plan, designed to make Committee members more visible and, more importantly, more accountable. There is much good work being done, and we want to make sure that members know what we’re doing in their name, as well as providing them with opportunities to get involved.

Finally, we intend to look at policy over the coming months, supporting the making of new policy, as well as advising the Parliamentary Parties on issues relating to foreign affairs.

There’s a lot to do over the coming months, and we hope to keep Liberal Democrat Voice readers, and the wider Party, up to date with our activities as events unfold.

* Mark Valladares has the honour of being the Secretary of the Federal International Relations Committee. He believes in good governance, transparency and a sense of humour…

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3 Comments

  • “ALDE Party Council meets in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 1-3 June…We send a delegation of seven members, five elected directly by the membership, plus the Party President and the Chair of the Committee.”

    Sounds expensive…..

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 8th Feb '17 - 3:45pm

    David,

    Fortunately, there is no cost to the Party. Economy class airfares, less a €75 excess, are refunded by ALDE, with hotel costs paid for by delegates. And if you think Ljubljana is bad, a few years ago, Council met in Yerevan…

  • Good.
    The fifteen year voting restriction on those British living abroad should be abolished. There are those with jobs and businesses who cannot relocate back to UK easily.

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