Between the 26th and 29th of May 2016, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Belgrade office, European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity and Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) organised the first seminar of the 2016 Course for Promising Politicians. The seminar ‘ich bin ein Social Democrat’ took place in Igalo, Montenegro, and focused on ideology and policies. FMS trainer Michiel Emmelkamp and Novo društvo (Croatia) trainer and SDP international secretary Karolina Leaković conducted the training.
Since 2003 the seminar has been organised three times annually and the course includes seminars on political ideology, media and communications skills, and regional cooperation and EU integration. The aim of the course is to introduce young promising politicians from South East Europe to the various aspects of political leadership, governance, and the dynamics and structures of party policies. In addition, the organisers aim to create a network among young, progressive, and politically active persons and to enhance their cooperation and improve their knowledge on the political developments in the countries in the region.
Ich bin ein Social Democrat
The seminar started with a getting-to-know-each-other game which required from each of the participant to interview its neighbour and introduce him or her to the group. This was followed by a discussion about leadership and leadership skills. Participants were assigned before the seminar to fill in a questionnaire about, among others, a political leader that inspires them. Having broken the ice it was time for an in-depth discussion about modern social democracy. What is it? What should it be about? In addition, we discussed an proposed solutions for, according to the participants, three main challenges that the countries in the region face: (youth) unemployment, corruption and rule of law. Divided in groups, the participants were assigned to come up with concrete social democratic solutions that can help tackle these challenges.
The second part of the training focused on developing policies and programs from an ideological point of view. Again, participants were divided in groups and had to work on concrete policy proposals in the field of, for example, higher education and social security. Finally, a module on social movements and progressive activisms was conducted. After a theoretical part, the assignment was to develop a social movement and a strategy and communication plan to engage people in this movement.
Next to the training modules, guest lectures were given by Daliborka Uljarević (Centre for Civil Education) and Dušan Spasojević (University of Belgrade). Ms. Uljarević discussed the political situation in Montenegro whilst Mr. Spasojević focused on challenges of Social Democracy in Europe.
The second seminar of Promising Politicans 2016 will take place from 1-3 July in Macedonian capital Skopje.