Young Liberals in Ljubljana
Young liberals from across Europe gather in Ljubljana to learn how to make the case for Liberalism
Written by Clara Puig, Christine Khomyk and Tim Robinson, IMS Delegates
From 10th -12th of September, young liberals from eight different countries gathered in Ljubljana, Slovenia to attend LYMEC’s first in-person training since the beginning of the pandemic, organised by the European Liberal Forum.
At a time when populism is on the rise across Europe and beyond, we liberals must do better when it comes to delivering our message to the public and defending the liberal values we hold so dear, such as freedom of expression and non-discrimination. The event aimed at giving participants – from both the IMS and LYMEC Member Organisations – a better understanding, not just of what liberalism means on paper, but how to make the emotional case for liberalism to ordinary voters.
With these objectives in mind, we enjoyed a number of different training sessions. For starters, we, the IMS delegates, broke the ice with a series of games to get to know each other better, and explained our role as representatives of LYMEC’s individual members at the LYMEC Congress. Then Marina Sedlo and Marten Porte, both LYMEC Bureau members, organized a workshop about speechwriting and networking.
After dealing with the form of our message, participants were taught more about its content – that is, our values. Sven Gerst, former Secretary General of IFLRY and holder of a PhD in Political Economy, took the challenge of translating eight main values of liberalism (liberty, individualism, scepticism about power, rule of law, responsibility, tolerance, peace and spontaneous order) from abstract concepts into something tangible, through emotive examples that regular voters can empathise with. .
Armed with an array of new skills and a better understanding of how to communicate liberal values, we set about applying them to concrete policy - by preparing draft resolutions for the next LYMEC Congress.In a session conducted by Gosse Vuijk, Acredited Parliamentary Assistant in the European Parliament, and Sara von Bonsdorff, LYMEC’s Administrative Assistant, participants came up with resolutions on the crisis in Afghanistan, establishing value based red lines when forming coalitions with other parties and protections for sex workers, some of which you may see at the upcoming LYMEC Autumn Congress in Paris!
After a long weekend, having somehow still found the time for a walking tour of Ljubljana and sampling traditional Slovenian cuisine, we headed back to our home countries, now equipped with better tools to defend and promote liberal values wherever we go.
About the authors:
Clara is an international relations and translation graduate from Spain currently working at ALDE Party as Website and Social Media Assistant.
Tim is from the UK, and works in Business Consulting for public sector. He previously studied a liberal arts degree at UCL and is currently completing an Accounting qualification alongside work.
Christine is a political scientist from Ukraine, currently doing a PhD in Public Administration.
January 24 2024
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