Dear Members, dear Partners, dear Friends!
As a tradition, at the end of each year we give a shout out to the most important news and accomplishments of the ACEEEO.
In 2021 we continued to organize events for ACEEEO members and partners, as well as to actively participate in elections and democracy related conferences organized by other electoral stakeholders. One of the most exciting endeavors in the recent activity of the ACEEEO has been the 30th Anniversary Conference. The event was organized by the Secretariat and the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania, and took place between the 28th and the 30th of September, in Bucharest, Romania. The event was a hybrid conference with a physical meeting for about 50 participants and a virtual participation of approximately 100 participants.
In the very beginning of the conference, we initiated a Leader’s Forum in order to strengthen the network of electoral officials and to facilitate a meaningful dialogue between the key stakeholders of the electoral field. The high-level interventions touched upon the past 30 years of promoting free and fair elections, on the role of the international organizations and their cooperation, as well as on the future of elections.
The conference gave us the opportunity to further develop the ACEEEO focus topic of this year, the Youth Participation. This has always been a priority for our network, and we took that into account by also organizing two online symposiums on the topic in the beginning of the year. The most important takeaways from these events were that civic education of youth is of high importance for the future of the electoral domain and that EMBs and international actors should put an emphasis on the involvement of the youth in the decision-making process. Therefore, further systematic change may happen only if independent young organizations are taken into account and electoral institutions uphold the responsibility to be inclusive and engaging for this specific target group..
The annual conference also took on the interesting and complex topic of Party and Campaign Finance. Practitioners underlined the importance of digital databases, monitoring groups and cooperation between different electoral stakeholders in order to be able to increase the transparency of party and campaign financing. For those who did not get the chance to take part in the Annual Conference, the Secretariat uploaded the recordings of the panels on the ACEEEO webpage. Furthermore, you may also access a wide variety of articles and case studies in the ACEEEO annual publication, Elections in Europe.
The ACEEEO General Assembly gave us the opportunity to distinguish Tamar Zhvania with an Honorary Membership for her extraordinary service to the Association. Mrs. Zhvania has been the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission of Georgia for 8 years as well as the President of the ACEEEO during 2019-2021.
Shortly after the Annual Conference we received the sad news that Arnis Cimdars, Honorary Member of ACEEEO and former President during 2005-2007, passed away at the age of 59. He was a long-time friend of many colleagues working in the electoral field. Being an Executive Board member for more than 20 years, Mr. Cimdars constantly supported the work of the Secretariat with advice and he has significantly contributed to the realization of many of our goals..
As this year approaches to its end, it becomes more and more clear that we have a long way behind us as well as a long journey ahead. This time of the year provides the opportunity to us all to gather strength to carry on in our mission. ACEEEO is looking forward to consolidate its active international involvement and to seize future possibilities to develop joint actions in the year to come.
On behalf of the ACEEEO Presidency and the Secretariat we want to wish you and your loved ones a very safe and peaceful festive season.