30 individual members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party and of the European Youth – LYMEC, from over 20 member states, gathered in Brussels on 9-11 October to learn how to get involved in European politics and make their voices heard. The programme included political meetings with the President of the ALDE Party, Sir Graham Watson, and Austrian MEP Angelika Mlinar. The accent however lied on training individual members in communication, social media, campaigning and other important political skills. The aim was to give these committed individuals the instruments to influence policy making at the European level and actively participate in liberal political organisations both in their home country as well as in Europe.
Daniel Tanahatoe, Communication adviser at the ALDE Party secretariat gave an overview of the different social media channels used by political bodies and how individual members could become more active on the web. This session also focused on giving individuals tricks about how to communicate their ideas and values through social media. Adriaan Andringa, special adviser to the Vice Mayor of the Hague, Ingrid van Engelshoven, and political director of the local election campaign in March 2014, shared his experience campaigning in the United States and the Netherlands and explained how to mobilise the grassroots. He motivated all participants to become more active and showed how important each individual is to bring forward a political project. Finally, Thomas Leys, Policy Adviser at the Open VLD Policy Centre, coached the participants on what he called “the politics within politics”. In this final session participants were presented a series of mechanisms of policy making and internal organisation of a political party. They learned practical skills such as how to write, present and defend resolutions and amendments, as well as how to negotiate and build coalitions.