Tag Archives: liberal democrat international office

Why “Global Britain” must be rooted in our liberal democratic values

The world has changed a lot over the past 30 years, becoming both more open and democratic and more prosperous. Well-being indicators of those most in need, especially in terms of health and education, have improved dramatically. But we still confront tremendous challenges, ranging from climate change to growing inequalities, especially within countries, and from conflict and fragility to migration. In addition, a profound dissatisfaction with liberal democracy and perceptions about the way it works has set in, not only in the developing world but also in countries that have traditionally been considered the cradles of democracy.

So despite the progress, it can often feel like we are confronting the greatest period of uncertainty and instability we have experienced since the second world war. As happened after World War II, the collective problems we face today require collective ways to address them. The United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union itself, are all founded in the experience of what happens when the world fragments. Coming together to create rules-based regional and global communities was the answer in the post-War era. This is why it feels strangely anachronistic for the UK to press on with Brexit now – especially when considering that the EU has been the single most successful multilateral effort of peace- and state building and the promotion of development and prosperity we have known.

Prime Minister May launched the idea of a “Global Britain” in October 2016 to counter fears that the UK would become inward-looking after Brexit. The UK has been a powerful and influential player in the world stage, playing among other things a leading role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals. But it is also the case that the EU has been a major multiplier for UK development and foreign policy – just as the UK has been a multiplier for EU development and foreign policy – and both risk losing significant leverage. So regardless of whether Britain stays inside or leaves the EU, making “Global Britain” more than a slogan will require sustained leadership and continued investment and engagement in crucial international relationships and commitments, both with(in) the EU and beyond.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Africa Liberal Network undertakes first ever election observation mission in Zanzibar

Zanzibar 4
International Office_with textWhite sandy beaches, glamorous resorts, history and beautiful architecture. These are some of the things that come to mind when we think of the exotic island of Zanzibar. But for the Africa Liberal Network (ALN), Zanzibar was – and is – much more than that.

For the ALN, Zanzibar was the destination for our first-ever election observation mission. Following the unanimous decision taken by the network’s executive committee, the ALN Secretariat arranged and coordinated this mission in partnership with the LibDem International Office and the Friederich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). The mission was led by our East Africa Vice President, Rosemary Kariuki (Orange Democratic Movement, Kenya).

Arriving in Zanzibar, the team and I quickly realised that we were truly the ‘’guinea pigs’’ of this new ALN project, and what an exciting challenge it was!

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Proud of Pride in Belgrade

Belgrade-Pride-1

International Office_with textI have been working with the LDP (Liberal Democrat Party of Serbia) for a few years now through the International Office and we have been concentrating on human rights and LGBT issues for the last 18 months. The first stage of the work the International Office and I have been doing, focusing on building LGBT competency within the wider LDP and supporting them to create their own LGBT specific committee in the Human Rights Council, culminated last month when I joined the Human Rights Council and LDP leadership at Belgrade Pride.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Liberals gather in Bournemouth to pioneer new strategies to rebuild and win again

International Office_with textFollowing the UK General Election on May 7, the Liberal Democrats have taken stock, rallied the membership and elected a new Party Leader, Tim Farron. With 20,000 members having joined the Party since May and 3 recent council election victories, the #libdemfightback is well underway. Liberal parties across Europe have faced challenging elections in the recent past, and it is essential that we share our experiences and learn from both each others’ mistakes and winning strategies.

In order to kick-start this debate, the Liberal Democrats International Office brought together a distinguished panel, including Hans van Baalen, ALDE Vice President, MP and MEP for VVD and former President of Liberal International, Annelou van Egmond, the D66 Director of Communications and key architect of the Party’s revival, Hans Stein, the Head of International Relations for the German FDP; Khatuna Samnidze, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Georgia, and Victoria Marsom, the Head of Strategic Seat Operation for the Liberal Democrats. In the chair was Iain Gill, Head of the Liberal Democrats International Office. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

The battle for a better Europe starts in Bournemouth

International Office_with textWith the EU-referendum likely to be less than a year away and the prospect of a Brexit a real and frightening possibility, the question of Britain’s role in Europe is more pressing than ever. The European Union was one of the most widely discussed issues at the conference, including the official launch of the Lib Dem Remain campaign.

In order to bring a more international perspective and explore the issues further, the Liberal Democrats International Office brought together a distinguished panel consisting of Sir Graham Watson, President of the ALDE Party and former Liberal Democrat MEP, Andrew Duff, Former Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP and Lucy Thomas, Campaign Director for Business for a New Europe (BNE). The event was chaired by Baroness Julie Smith, Lib Dem Spokesperson on Defence in the House of Lords.

Opening the debate in front of a huge audience in a packed room, Iain Gill, Head of the Lib Dems International Office, emphasised the importance of EU membership to the UK, and the crucial role that liberal networks such as ALDE and Liberal International will play in campaigning for Britain to stay in the EU.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 30 Comments
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