Young leaders from nine Asian countries delivered persuasive speeches on their topics of interest, including gay rights, social media, and their passion for political involvement, in preparation for their future electoral campaigns. As participants of the "7th CALD Communications Workshop: Strategic Political Communication for Youth Candidates", this fresh generation of liberal politicians met in Siem Reap, Cambodia—a stone's throw away from the historical complex of Angkor Wat—on 17 to 20 August 2012.
Dutch communications consultant, Mr. Pam Evenhuis, facilitated the workshop and gave participants tips on speech delivery, political goals, and branding. "What is very important within political communication is the ability to communicate in such a way that the receiving end can remember," he said. "You should be able to build such a reputation that, instantly, we remember who you are." He asked participants to identify their personal ideals, and they committed to education reform, people-powered politics, transparency, solidarity among generations, and good governance.
CALD Secretary General, Dr. Neric Acosta, provided his input on characteristics of successful campaign messages and making sound political statements and speeches. He stressed the importance of connection with the constituency, context, content, and conviction in speeches. He also challenged participants to recognize their purpose. "The purpose will always connect to a passion—why you love doing it," he said. "Only when you are clear about purpose and passion will you know how to proceed."
Also showing her support was CALD Women's Caucus Chairperson, Hon. Mu Sochua, MP. She engaged participants during her remarks on behalf of the Sam Rainsy Party. "I want to have a conversation with you," she said. "I think I'm here to listen to you because if the party wants to maintain its stance, its ideology, and its dream, it has to always be young."
The activity brought participants closer to the liberal ideology and its international networks. Mr. Ivo Thijssen, Bureau Member of the International Foundation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY), highlighted that liberalism is about individualism and the right to self-determination. He discussed the attacks against 'the individual' by other ideologies, and gave examples of IFLRY's work on issues, including freedom of expression and climate change.
Apart from learning from the presentations of the resource persons, participants actively engaged in group activities where they identified liberal responses to healthcare, education, human rights, poverty, and anti-corruption. They built campaign plans taking into account the importance of volunteers and how to attract and engage them. The workshop included the CALD Youth Executive Committee Meeting and is a precursor to the proposed CALD Youth Festival to be held in 2013.
The activity aimed to prepare young leaders for their future political campaigns. But with people so gung-ho to 'change the governing system', 'tear down walls in the minds', and fire start an 'intelligent revolution', these leaders might just have always been ready.