The end of an era as International Relations Committee faces a new dawn…

irc-meetingYes, this week saw the last meeting of the International Relations Committee in its current form, as the Governance Review has renamed it the ‘Federal International Relations Committee’ and given it a perhaps sharper focus than hitherto. And, whilst the agenda wasn’t exactly a full one, there were matters of import to discuss.

International Office have been, as usual, busy, with work being done in Kenya, Georgia, Morocco and South Africa. Our International officer, Harriet Shone, has been busy, focussing particularly on improving campaigning techniques, engaging under-represented groups and more effective voter outreach. Merlene Emerson, one of the directly elected members, attended a conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, intended to encourage and support female Parliamentarians and political activists.

Liberal International is working on the drafting of a new ‘Liberal Manifesto’, intended to update the original 1947 ‘Oxford Manifesto’ which was the founding document of the organisation. Work has started to liaise with core Party stakeholders to ensure that the document is user-friendly and capable of achieving buy-in from liberal leaders around the globe.

Current focus is on next week’s ALDE Party Congress, which takes place in Warsaw (a preview will follow). Lobbying from candidates for the Bureau has already started, but the delegation will concentrate on those resolutions submitted by the Liberal Democrats and on the composite motion on Brexit.

The impact of the Governance Review was considered, including the importance of establishing the framework for the Committee’s efforts over the next three years. Even such seemingly simple questions as how the new Chair will be decided upon need to be confirmed, and the building of a strong relationship with the Federal Policy Committee will be a key task.

Finally, the Committee recognised the astonishing hard work and effectiveness of the current International Office team, led by Harriet Shone.

* Mark Valladares is the Secretary of the International Relations Committee, and covers ALDE Party events for Liberal Democrat Voice.

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