from CALD member organizations converged in the picturesque city of Kandy, Sri
Lanka from 25-27 March 2011 for the CALD Youth Strategic Planning Workshop.
This was hosted by CALD chair party, the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka, and
organized with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. The activity
allowed the youth wing of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats to
continue and streamline the planning that began since its inception at the
first CALD Youth Caucus Workshop in 2010.
In his welcome
remarks, CALD Chair Hon. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP, described the CALD Youth as
bright and enthusiastic group of young people working together with their
political parties. He called upon participants to establish systems that would
allow for the continuity of the organization and provide space for young
people to make contributions to political thought and political activity.
that CALD has had a successful history through its member parties and exhibited
solidarity, on a principled basis, with fellow Asians. "We need to help
each other and develop principles and practices that we hope can be
replicated," he added.
Peiris, who was selected as CALD Youth Chair last year and is President of the
Liberal Youth Sri Lanka, briefed participants on the organization. CALD Youth
aims to promote liberal and democratic values among the youth through education
and capacity building; create regional solidarity among liberal youth on issues
related to the violation of liberty, democracy and equality; create
regional networks and build relationships among liberal youth and future
liberal leaders; and provide for the smooth transition of party youth wings
into the political mainstream.
discussed how relevant the organization is, how it differentiates itself from
similar organizations (particularly as a political youth organization) and how
it aligns itself with like-minded organizations. She discussed developments
since 2010, including CALD Youth's participation at the IFLRY General Assembly
and CALD Executive Committee meeting, and the drafting of the organization's
Charter. However, she stressed the need for CALD Youth members to take the next
steps in order to turn the organization's objectives into concrete results.
Dr. Neric Acosta, CALD Secretary General and Mr. Jules Maaten, Country Director
of Friedrich Naumann Foundation Philippines, the workshop was an opportunity
for participants to share the problems the youth face within their respective
organizations and countries. They also discussed their organizations' strengths
and responses to challenges on strengthening political interest, understanding
of political ideology and increasing the willingness for action among the
Maaten, also a
former member of European Parliament and former Secretary General of the
International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY), provided input on key
ingredients to successful youth organizations. These organizations involve
future leaders, issue groups and young people who want change. Successful youth
organizations often attribute their successes to their strong base of members
who stay around for a long time and ensure the continuity and growth of their
organizations, and the establishment of their networks. These organizations
engage themselves in big politics, training and research, and organization and
outreach. Youth wings of political parties are immensely important in helping
their parties garner youth appeal.
Acosta, on the
other hand, showed a video on leadership lessons and let participants know that
apart from being good leaders, it is also important for them to become good
followers. Oftentimes, movements become successful because of courageous
followers who also show others how to follow.
proved the commitment of CALD member organizations to the development of a
youth group for CALD and the cultivation of young Asian leaders. Participants,
in return, committed to becoming a core group and even formed sub-committees to
ensure smooth and strategic communication within the organization. Apart from
promoting CALD Youth within their organizations, they will present their
Charter at the CALD Executive Committee meeting this June and have begun
planning their next program on the role of youth in politics.
successfully took on the challenge of taking the next steps that CALD Youth
called for. Given their caliber and passion for creating political change
together with other young people, it is not unlikely that big leaps will soon