Laura’s Blog #11: Female Leadership Programme and IFLRY GA

Attendees to the Female Leadership Programme event in Cape Town, South Africa.

Meet Laura Fagerlund. Laura is a Vice President of IFLRY and a Council member of the Swedish Youth of Finland. She is currently living in South Africa, where she is doing an internship with the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. In her blog, Laura gives you a first-person account of what it’s like for her to live and work halfway around the world in a country that couldn’t be more different from her native Finland.

You can find her other blog posts here.

Hmm… Where should I begin with this blog post? I have had the most intense week ever since I moved to Cape Town: three days of the third Female Leadership Programme Seminar and four days of IFLRY’s General Assembly. At the same time I have been working as usual and saying goodbye to one of my closest friends I’ve made in South Africa, who moved back to her home country Sweden while I was busy at the General Assembly.

I am extremely thankful I got the opportunity to help with the planning and execution of the third Female Leadership Programme seminar. I would have loved to also participate in the seminars in Jordan and Tunisia, but my single entry visa to South Africa made things difficult. However, the event in Cape Town was very successful and I feel inspired by all the young leaders I met. Women from Jordan, Lebanon, Ghana, South Africa, Morocco and Sweden gathered to improve their leadership skills and discuss the importance of female leadership and liberalism globally. The group also got very close and personal during the three days, which ended in a few tears and a big group hug the last day. I feel empowered after taking part in this seminar, and I am once again convinced that the sustainable way forward for leadership is to be vulnerable and accepting of what makes every individual unique.

The day after the Female Leadership Programme, the General Assembly began. After some last minute preparations we met on Thursday evening for the opening of the GA, some ice breaking games and an impressive keynote speech by the DA Youth Leader Luyolo Mphiti. The next day we had time for a conference on the future of liberalism, a study visit to the Parliament and a fringe by IFLRY’s Pool of Trainers team before we ended the day with a dinner in the city. The Saturday was intense with several hours of standing committees, the continuation of the GA, fringes and a hackathon where the delegates worked on the IFLRY Manifesto 2020. The GA ended the next day at lunch time. When I look back on these days I feel thankful. I feel thankful and privileged to be part of this global family of young liberals from all over the world. After IFLRY events I feel inspired, filled with new perspectives and reflections on my way of thinking and my values. A big thank you to my colleagues at the Democratic Alliance for co-organising this event together with IFLRY, to the IFLRY Bureau for the great teamwork and most of all, to all the delegates for making this weekend successful!

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Laura Fagerlund is a Vice President of IFLRY and a Council member of the Swedish Youth of Finland. She just finished a degree in Political Science at Åbo Akademi University in Finland. You can contact her via or on Twitter: @laurafagerlund

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