Dear liberal friends,
First of all, thank you for your support! As newly elected IFLRY president, I am happy to introduce to you the other newly-elected members of the bureau: General Secretary Tone Bjørndal, from our member organisation Young Liberals of Norway, Treasurer Danylo Korbabicz, from the Young Liberals of Canada, and Vice-Presidents Ahmad Al Rachwani (Future Youth Movement, Lebanon), Ab Brightman (Liberal Youth, UK), Sven Gerst (Junge Liberale, Germany), and Anders Rehnberg (Liberal Youth of Sweden). I am very much looking forward to be working with them in the upcoming two years. First of all, I want to focus on creating a close-knit team to make sure our cooperation will work as smoothly as possible and issues can be discussed openly within the bureau.
Together with this team, I am very much looking forward to be working with you – IFLRY is a federation and therefore thrives based on the input of its member organisations. Therefore, I am urging you to provide me with more feedback in the upcoming two years. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, feedback or creative ideas you may have. Do so via firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, Instagram, or whatever channel you find appropriate :).
As mentioned in my election speech, I was here in Istanbul when the first IFLRY Freedom Award was granted to imprisoned Egyptian activist Maikel Nabil. I have seen the inclusion of Latin-American organisations, for example, the Venezuelans who fight for liberal values that are severely challenged on a daily basis. And, the most recent example: a Russian activist – who is actually in this room right now – was attacked last week while speaking up against corruption.
Such examples of liberal activists inspire me. But examples like these also force us all to believe in the relevance of our federation: it is only when we work together as a federation, that we can support each other in our fight for liberal values and human rights around the world. Sadly, as these examples show, this support is still essential for the survival of liberalism in many parts of the world. Therefore I hope that, together with the new bureau, I can make sure that IFLRY will be able to continue to provide this support to young liberals around the world.
Out of sight is not out of mind. Let’s go home now and continue to globalize freedom!
Pauline Kastermans (Jonge Democraten, the Netherlands) is the newly-elected President of IFLRY. This is an adapted version of her acceptance speech given at the IFLRY General Assembly held in Istanbul, Turkey, last weekend.