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Former seminar participants establish an alumni association

The seminars of the International Leadership Academy (IAF, as per its German acronym) are part of the most popular and successful activities of the international effort realized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Usually, participants are younger leaders from the counterpart institutions of the Foundation. Participants who have attended an international seminar in Gummersbach can never forget that experience in the short term, as the alumni state unanimously. In order to keep contacts and promote networks, alumni associations have emerged over the years in many countries. Such an IAF alumni club has been established in Algeria, as well.

Fifty years ago, the Foundation started its international initiative in Tunisia. However, the project effort in the neighboring Algeria started only ten years ago: the Foundation initiated a project in 2004 for the promotion of women, as well as juvenile employment-creation measures. In the meantime, the Algerian project is conducted from Rabat, in neighboring Morocco. A small-sized but compelled team in Algeria performs the tasks onsite.

The North African country has experienced a changeful, partially tragic, history: as a former French colony, Algerians have lived their own revolution and a bloody civil war. The country still suffers from its recent history; slowly and cautiously the largest African state, provided with huge oil and gas resources, is starting to open to the outside world: first, towards its neighbors, the Mediterranean region, and then eventually to Europe and to the rest of the world.

Ronald Meinardus, Regional Office Director, accompanied by an alumni and the Foundation colleague Ouerdane

Ronald Meinardus, Regional Office Director, accompanied by an alumni and the Foundation colleague Ouerdane

Influences from socialism, the repercussions of the Islamist violence, and the strong presence of the law enforcement bodies are elements that even currently influence the public and political life. This is not an easy environment for the liberal project task. However, the Foundation currently works together with a wide range of Algerian counterparts regarding human rights issues, women’s roles and economic reforms. A continuous dialogue with the youth is also a priority here. The Foundation closed last year a cooperation agreement with the entrepreneurial organization Cercle d’Action et de Reflexion autour de l’Entreprise (CARE). Its pleas in terms of market economy towards the government and ministers have a wide repercussion on the mass media. In this regard, the Foundation promotes, amongst others, activities related to labor law, decentralization or women’s roles, and also recently, climate change.


In the facilities of the alumni association

In the facilities of the alumni association

Kind words for Germany

In the last years, a dozen of Algerian leaders were invited by the Foundation to visit the Academy for Leadership in Gummersbach. Recently, Ronald Meinardus, regional office director, visited Algiers; in that occasion, the meeting to establish the Algerian alumni association was held in the facilities of the Foundation office in Algiers. Rüdiger Graichen, the project director, arrived from Rabat to attend the meeting. Even though participants come from different counterpart organizations, all of them have good impressions to tell from their stay in Germany. The alumni agreed upon a series of life-giving measures for their new network: besides maintaining the currently almost mandatory Facebook page, the Algerian alumni want to meet regularly in discussion rounds and seminars.

“The creation of this alumni group instills courage in a country where even small steps of communication, messaging and transparency, both internally and externally, can be troublesome,” says Graichen. And thereby, –as the project director continues– Algeria has the best conditions to provide new opportunities to its inhabitants: by opening the markets and strengthening the position of the country within the international dialogue.

This is where the alumni group wants to make its small contribution.


Website of the FNF project office in Algeria

14. März 2013