The opening of the second edition of the Liberal International Democratic Training Academy (LIDTA)

The Liberal International Democratic Training Academy (LIDTA) is a training academy for political talents from the Middle East and Caucasus founded by VVD International Secretary Lennart Salemink and Liberal International President Hakima el Haité. The two organizations work closely together to foster successful political careers in the future. The academy intends to strengthen the political capacity of political talents in countries that are in a democratic transition like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

For many people in the countries mentioned, Liberalism is currently not part of the political spectrum. One of the participants, Dania Odeh, is a political activist that lives in the Kingdom of Jordan. Jordan is a monarchy without a liberal political party. Liberal activists daily feel the difficulty of founding one. Dania therefore joined the thinktank Free Thought Forum, a liberal NGO that focusses on stimulating the debate around liberalism in Jordan. In order to do so, she wants to learn how to use dialogue instead of conflict to solve problems. Besides this, having political impact is also one of her goals to get out of this Academy. The lead trainer, and former VVD MP, of this year’s Academy, Roald van der Linde, is driven to provide the accurate training for this demand.

Other participants from for example Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon also experience difficulties when debating and talking about Liberalism. The system and political figures in place often see Liberalism as a threat to their political life and so portray the political ideology as something foreign or extreme. LIDTA participants will be offered communication skills in order to fight comparisons like these.   

Participants from Armenia and Georgia are experiencing something similar in their countries. The older generation in these countries has lived under the Soviet repression. That’s why it is often difficult for them to put the individual values first. Ruzanna and Mirian, both from Armenia and Georgia, will take the opportunity to learn about effective political skills to hear people listen and to build bridges between the two generations.

The participants of the Liberal International Democratic Training Academy are all very keen to learn how to be an improved version of themselves. Since they are affiliated with liberal political parties and organizations they already share the same values like freedom, honesty and safety. They will work a lot together, but also have the possibility to develop themselves. Four weekends will be organized from September until February 2022. The participants will meet each other in different countries which, due to the Coronavirus, are yet to be determined. These weekends will be filled with training on political skills, increasing the Liberalism knowledge, teambuilding activities and different workshops. The trainings and workshops will be done by inspiring people and former politicians. As Hans van Baalen once said to Hakima El Haité: ‘I dream of a better world and therefore I need a lot of different people who want to fight for a more Liberal world.’