IRI and Civic Education Development Center Host Working Session Looking at Political Party Foundations

The International Republican Institute (IRI) along with the Civic Education Development Center hosted emerging political party foundations and party representatives from 12 countries for the fourth in a series of working sessions exploring the practical ways party foundations can benefit a political party.  The session, held in Warsaw, Poland November 29 through December 1, 2007, was a part of IRI’s European Political Party Foundations and Institutes (EPPFI) network.

As more parties in the dynamic political environment of Central and Eastern Europe consider and pursue the establishment of foundations, this latest installment of the EPPFI network meetings aimed to increase the understanding of party managers on the various roles and usefulness of party foundations and encourage concrete steps toward developing closer cooperation among organizations.  

In addition to detailed presentations on party foundation programs and examples of cooperation between parties and foundations in recent election campaigns, the meeting participants welcomed newcomers from the Croatian Statehood Foundation, Albanian Democratic Party, and the Macedonian VMRO-DPMNE.  

Tomi Huhtanen of the European People’s Party (EPP) briefed the audience on recent developments and future plans of the EPP’s newly established Centre for European Studies.  Participants also heard from a number of leaders from the recent winner of the Polish elections, Civic Platform, specifically Krzysztof Lisek, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Parliamentarian Jarosław Wałęsa, and Ryszard Schnepf, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

In addition, Tibor Navracsics, parliamentary group leader of the Hungarian opposition Fidesz, shared with participants his thoughts on how party foundations can support parties while in opposition.  The meeting also identified a number of areas for future EPPFI network cooperation.

The EPPFI network, initiated by IRI in January 2006, includes: the Democracy Institute, Bulgaria; the Democracy Foundation, Bulgaria; the Croatian Statehood Foundation, Croatia; CEVRO – Liberal-Conservative Academy, Czech Republic; the Pro Patria Training Center, Estonia; the Foundation for a Civic Hungary, Hungary; Századvég Foundation, Hungary; the Antall József Foundation, Hungary; the Political Education Foundation, Latvia; the Institute of Democratic Politics, Lithuania; the Civic Education Development Center, Poland; the National Training Center, Serbia; the Institute for Modern Slovakia, Slovak Republic; and the Institute Jože Pučnik, Slovenia.

Among western European sister organizations, the following have participated in the network’s activities: the Political Academy of the Austrian People’s Party, Austria; the Konrad Adenauer Siftung, Germany; the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy, Greece; the Eduardo Frei Foundation, The Netherlands; Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES), Spain; EPP Centre for European Studies, Brussels; and the European People’s Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED) Centre for Political Parliamentary Education and Training – Robert Schuman Institute, Budapest.

The Civic Education Development Center is a foundation affiliated with Poland’s Civic Platform.

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