Up-and-coming leaders from Turkey and Southeastern Europe, members of city councils, founders of party youth organizations, local campaign managers and advisors, gathered in Antalya, Turkey for the International Republican Institute’s Euro-Mediterranean Leadership Institute seminar on campaign and political leadership skills.

The program featured accomplished political campaign strategists and managers from the Austrian People’s Party, the Christian Democratic Appeal of the Netherlands and a senior political consultant from Sweden, training on topics such as the use of public opinion polling in campaigns, political communication and message development and campaign organization.

Participants included young leaders from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey along with the Democratic Party of Albania, Citizens for the European Reconstruction of Bulgaria, the Croatian Democratic Union and Peasants’ Party of Croatia, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity, New Democracy of Macedonia, the Movement for Changes of Montenegro, the Liberal-Democratic Party of Romania, G-17 Plus and the Democratic Party of Serbia.

The program also featured Mevlut Cavusoglu, a member of parliament from Antalya and the party’s deputy chairman for international affairs, who spoke to the young leaders about his inspiration for becoming one of the founders of the AKP and entering politics.

In the words of one of the Turkish participants, by bringing together participants from across Southeastern Europe, the seminar helped them “improve their relations with the young leaders of other countries” and was especially useful as an opportunity to “meet young politicians and share our experiences with each other.”

Part of a unique partnership with the Eduardo Frei Foundation, which is affiliated with the Christian Democratic Appeal of the Netherlands, the seminar was the second Euro-Mediterranean Leadership Institute, and the 20th in the Leadership Institute series.  Focusing on practical political campaign skills training, it is one of the only endeavors of its kind to bring together young leaders from across Southeastern Europe with their counterparts in Turkey.

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