The International Republican Institute’s Europe Regional Program launched a new initiative, Leadership and Excellence in Advanced Politics (LEAP), on Saturday, March 28 in Bratislava, Slovakia.  The program seeks to build a highly-skilled team of European trainers to serve as political education experts throughout the region.  The inaugural seminar brought together five LEAP participants from Central and Eastern Europe to sharpen their training skills.

The first workshop featured special guests Jan Figel, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth; Deb Sofield, executive speech coach and president of the board of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University; and Stefan Urbanek, an expert on knowledge management and political applications of information technologies.  The gathering focused on advanced topics of political skills training and keys to effective training and consultation.

LEAP capitalizes on the Europe Regional Office’s valuable resource of European campaign managers and political activists, combining American political perspectives with some of the best political experience from across the European continent.  Team members are educated on how to deliver more effective political training and consulting throughout Europe and elsewhere. The program equips them with advanced training skills and topics to take political education to the next level.

The first members of the LEAP Team and participants in Saturday’s workshop included: Tomislav Damnjanovic, founder and campaign manager of G17+, Serbia; Michal Dyttert, former television anchor and spokesman for the Speaker of Parliament, Slovakia; Ralf Gueldenzopf, founder of Blueberry Political Consulting and head of the political communication department at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Germany; Tomas Jirsa, chief of staff for the Mayor of Prague, Czech Republic; and Eva Ohrablova, campaign manager for SDKU-DS, Slovakia.


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