Between 23 and 26 May the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity and the Alfred Mozer Stichting started the first seminar in the course of 2013 in a sequence for promising politicians in the Western Balkans in Bečići, Montenegro. The main aim was to offer a crash course on ideologies, policy and political communication. This is in preparation for the other two seminars which are more about specific communication skills and the EU integration process in the Western Balkans. This seminar has been organized every year since 2003. Alumni of earlier seminars include for example Minister Damir Mašić of Bosnia and Herzogovina, Aleksandra Jerkov, former MP in Serbian Parliament and other politicians.
The seminar is offered to a selection of young talented social-democratic politicians from the Western Balkans. Participants this year were from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. The program was organized in a way that theory was followed by practical sessions in which groups were formed with participants from different countries. In this way contacts are made to establish a network of politically active persons to exchange knowledge from different countries in the region.
A lecture was given by Dr. Michael Ehrke from the FES about the challenges and perspectives of Social Democracy.
René Cuperus, director International Relations of the Wiardi Beckman Stichting, think-tank for Dutch social Democracy, spoke about failing nations with the political institutions as hardware and ideologies as software. He raised critical questions about the necessity of 19th century ideologies nowadays.
Martijn Beckers, owner of Johnny Wonder, Amsterdam based agency for online strategy, had an interactive training about policies and getting your central message out to reach your target.
Milan Živković, secretary of the National Policy Commission and director of political academy ‘Novo Društvo’ organized an interesting workshop in which these social democrats were also forced to defend policy from a liberal and conservative point of view.
On the last day Časlav Vešović, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Socialists, Mirko Stanić, spokesperson for the Social Democratic Party and Daliborka Uljarević, director of the Centre for Civic Education were invited to speak about the current political situation in Montenegro.
The first seminar for this dynamic group can be considered a success because in the end the group of young social democrats enthusiastically applauded to a short speech with the conclusion that together it is possible to deal with the current situation in the Western Balkans. In the next seminar of this course it is up to them to create a more specific plan in the follow up of this enthusiasm and keep their promise.
A full report on the event will be published on our website on short notice.