[Brussels 26 February 2014] The Mentees of the European Political Mentoring Network were all in Brussels last week in order to benefit from a leadership and capacity building programme organised by the European Women’s Lobby.
This three-day long session began with training by Mette Rix (Denmark) around the challenges of public speaking in the political sphere. Mette worked with the Mentees on sharpening their communication skills, with a focus on public speaking, effectively conveying political messages in front of an audience or camera, and responding to media. On the second day, the Mentees were trained by Michelle O’Donnell Keating and Niamh Gallagher from Women for Election (Ireland) on campaigning and especially on fundraising in order to conduct a successful campaign. During lunch they met Jean Lambert, Member of the European Parliament ( Greens/EFA), who gave interesting insights into her own campaigns and her work as an MEP. The German foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung kindly hosted this session in their Brussels Office.
The Mentees furthermore attended the EWL seminar and reception at the European Parliament “My MEP is just like me?! Gender Equality and Diversity in European Political Life. For a more representative, equal and democratic Europe.” The second panel “Women’s political participation at different levels in the EU: opportunities and challenges”, was moderated by MEP Zita Gurmai and MEP Claudette Abela Baldacchino, who questioned 3 Mentees about their experiences. Sanchia Alasia (Councillor London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, MEP Candidate, Labour London) and Güliz Tomruk (MEP Candidate, Greens, The Netherlands) thereby talked about their campaign for the European elections next May. Kamilla Sultanova spoke about her political engagement in Denmark and the latest event she organised around the upcoming European elections (details here). The Mentees’ participation was of added value to the seminar and its participants, and they raised awareness on the different challenges that women from ethnic minorities are facing in European political life. In addition, Mentees used that opportunity to highlight the importance of the European Political Mentoring Network in their existing and future plan to progress into politics.
On the third day, Laurence Cuny facilitated an evaluation session of the programme. Throughout this programme, Mentees also spent some time to shadow their respective Mentor at the European Parliament, to network and to contribute to the mentoring programme’s documentary. The second part of the documentary will soon be published on our website, featuring this part of the programme and the last session in Strasbourg in December 2013.
The next step will consist of shadowing of the Mentors during their European elections campaign in their home countries. We will keep you posted about the impressions and experiences thereby gained by the Mentees, here.