Benedikte Kloth: Radikal Ungdoms Candidate for General Secretary of IFLRY!

Dear liberal friends,

Under the warm Ghanaian sun in February of 2018, I was welcomed in to this large, global liberal family at my first IFLRY General Assembly. Since then I have experienced IFLRY from the outside looking in as representative of Radikal Ungdom, and as Free Trade Program Manager and later coordinator for the SDG Working Group, I got to observe the work of the federation from the insight. This only gave me a greater interest in taking an active part in the daily running of IFLRY. It is with this background, that I with great care and concern see our federation today in need to calibre the compass and check the course. I believe the time for change time is now. It is therefore, that I with great humbleness and joy announce my candidacy for the position of Secretary General in the 2020-2022 IFLRY Bureau.
IFLRY is in an identity crisis. We need to answer essential questions of who we are as a federation, and where are we going? How should we position IFLRY among other international organizations, and what should our focus(es) be? I have visions, but I don’t pretend that I bear all the answers to these questions. Instead, it is my ambition to listen with an open mind to the needs, wishes and perspectives of the core of our federation, our Member Organisations (MOs).
My priorities as Secretary General are as following:

As we are preparing for the first ever online IFLRY General Assembly (GA), it is hard to avoid dwelling on the sudden and unforeseeable changes that 2020 has brought for us all. But Covid-19 might just have been the silver lining for IFLRY to go online and become truly global. The current Bureau, employees of the Office, and volunteer trainers (for Super Sunday Session etc.) have worked relentlessly to innovate ways in which to continue activities online or in hybrid sessions between online and on ground participants. 2020 have given us important experiences that we should continue to work with. With online capacities in place, I believe IFLRY can use this moment in time to reflect upon which direction the Federation should take in the post-pandemic era. I wish to use this moment initiate and facilitate a large-scale dialogue process as the basis for drafting up a long-term strategy for IFLRY.

For me a strategy can start no other place than with the membership. For IFLRY, the MOs are our key to boots on the ground, and I hope that we can continue the work on utilizing the volunteer capacities of our MOs for events and seminars. Under the current pandemic, travelling like we are used to looks quite impossible. This only makes it more valuable for us to have active members spread across various regions of the world. We need all MOs to be the face of IFLRY on the ground when corona keeps us online.
Specifically, I propose the following plan. Together with my Bureau colleagues, I wish to conduct interviews with each MOs to collect information about; the current challenges and possibilities they face as an organisation? How can IFLRY support them? What should IFLRY do to meet their needs and wishes? What are their perspectives on IFLRY?
Following this process, the Bureau will draft up a strategy that covers (for example) the following pillars:

  • Organizational capacity and capacity building in IFLRY
  • Activities and event focus of IFLRY, including capacity building of MOs
  • Political influence and advocacy

The draft strategy will to be sent to the MOs for a consultation process before being voted on and adopted by the MOs at the GA to ensure full inclusion of the MOs in all steps of the process.

I vision the following timeline:
Jan-July: Conversations with MOs
Aug-Sep: Internal Bureau discussions and writing up a strategy
Oct-Nov: MO feedback and commentary process
Nov: MOs voting on IFLRYs official strategy

By establishing a clear, long term vision for IFLRY and a stronger narrative, I believe that we – Bureau as MOs – more easily and clearly can tell others about the work and vision of IFLRY and be more cutting edge on our advocacy.

IFLRY has amazing potential and it is a joy to see the drive for our liberal family in all that IFLRY does. However, we must not forget that IFLRY as an umbrella organization not is the core focus of our MOs. IFLRY offers great possibilities and perspectives for our MOs, and the Bureau should do all that it can for IFLRY to continue to do so.
I aim to make it as easy as possible for the International Officers (IOs) from our MOs to engage with IFLRY. By easing their interactions with IFLRY, I believe that we stand stronger as a federation. I believe the first step is to achieve a higher level of communication between Bureau and IOs.
I wish to do so by implementing the following procedures:

• Sending an email to all IOs prior to a Bureau meeting with the agenda, and an email afterwards summing up the discussions and main takeaways
• Create a collective folder where all Bureau minutes can be found (not including sensitive information)
• A pipeline calendar (online) which all IOs can access for information about upcoming events (tentative and confirmed)

The programme managers (PMs) and active volunteers in IFLRY’s programs contribute with a platform for direct involvement of MOs. To support the work of especially newly elected PMs, I would like the Bureau to make mission letters/white papers to all PMs. I see it as beneficial to include sitting PMs in the process of writing up the mission letters and defining the focus of their programme.

Over the past years, IFLRY have grown in size. This puts pressure on the volunteer capacity of the Bureau and on other volunteers in IFLRY. We must not forget that IFLRY is a volunteer organization and should be an inclusive and valuable place to be for those who put hours and efforts into the organisation.
IFLRY should also create value for our MOs, and make it meaningful for them to be a part of the federation. I would like to see this value expanded to other than the few internationally engaged in each MO. Therefore, I believe we should include a more skill-based capacity building focus in IFLRY’s seminars in the aspiration that participants can bring home skills, ideas and perspectives from IFLRY’s events and seminars that they are able to apply and utilize within their organizations. I would like to look into the possibilities of making a capacity pool of skills within IFLRY. This could for example be focused on a seminar specifically targeted Communication Officers of MOs, where the participant could establish a network for idea and skill sharing.
In the end, the success of IFLRY is measured by the success that our members deliver when they go home and create change. Those moments of young liberals creating change where they are, are an inspiration to all other young liberals.

IFLRY is a great place to exchange political ideas and political cultures. I truly believe IFLRY plays an important part in the international liberal community, and it should be a high focus of the Bureau to keep up the relationship with sponsors and partners all over the world.
As the global voice of liberalism, anywhere where we can go to discuss political opinions, we are making a stand for the freedom of speech and living out our liberal principles. We have a unique opportunity for not only communicating the liberal message but also to advocate for youth engagement and the youth voice globally – in partnership with other international youth organisations as the former Bureau did in events with the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY).

But we also have a large potential in advocating as one Federation. It is my intention that the next Bureau will make the effort to cooperate with the membership to create active, engaging campaigns for liberalism. Our liberal voices are louder and stronger, when we advocate together. ‘

Running IFLRY at its current capacity requires great teamwork within the Bureau. I see the role as Secretary General as the coordinating position that should make work easier for all others and make all members of the Bureau shine. IFLRY have great people, and I wish for the VPs to have a greater responsibility of IFLRY’s activities. IFLRY’s programmes hold great possibilities, and I wish for a greater overlap between VP responsibilities, and programme areas.
I take the role upon me as Secretary General to be the person that takes care of our volunteers in the Bureau and the Council to make sure that they feel included, appreciated and that we collectively are working as a team. It is my core belief that a volunteer effort should never be taken for granted.
IFLRY is bigger than ever and keeping up the pace and activity level will no doubt require hard work. I am honoured to offer my time, dedication and experience to IFLRY in the position of SG. I come with a lot of idea but mostly with an ambition to listen with an open mind.
You might also like to hear a few words about me: I am 25 years old and have my academic background within the field of international business and politics. My practical experience with organisations (in various forms, not just political) come through many years of volunteer work. From student councils, sport associations, and for the past years in Radikal Ungdom. I am honoured and excited for their nomination for this position and hope for your support.

Dear members,
With me, IFLRY will get a fully dedicated person that will listen to you, and with all my heart will take good care of our federation and everyone involved with it.

If you wish to read Radikal Ungdom’s nomination, you can do so here.
If you wish to read my CV, you can do so here.
If you wish to download the candidacy, you can do se here.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with comments, questions or ideas.
With liberal greetings,

+45 28 72 08 50