International graduate Program for Politicians (European Liberal Leadership of the Future program)

The main objective of this project is to exchange knowledge and experience of liberals on personal development. During the program the main focus will lays on capacity building by training in storytelling, distinguishing yourself and dealing with contemporary media. The main questions to be answered by the participants is: how do I distinguish myself as political talent? The participants have the opportunity to exchange knowledge among each other during different sessions and of course to enlarge their personal network. The outcome of the project is beneficiary for the participants (high level political talents) in their future political life.

This program assisted potential European Leadership on topics such as personal branding, being a politician, personal campaigning, dealing with contemporary media and several other skill trainings. It consists out of two intensive training courses with high potentials from different liberal political foundations and parties all around Europe. The first program, located at the NH Hotel in The Hague, was focused on personal branding, personal storytelling and how to use contemporary social media. Fifteen participants arrived on the 6th of September when they met over diner. In the morning of the 7th of September the training started with an opening statement by Jock Geselschap, International Secretary of VVD Internatoinal/Haya van Somerenstichting. After his introduction the program started. The first session was about personal branding, Lennart Salemink gave an interactive training which challenged the participants to step out of their comfort zone and into the growth zone. This was the zone where you as an aspiring politician should constantly be in. In this zone you would learn and challenge yourself to try new things. At the end of this training every participant challenged him/herself and pitch a political idea to the group in 5 minutes.

The second training was about creating the best personal communication strategy. Daniel Tanahatoe, communication advisor of the ALDE Party, provided this training. He explained how important it is to have a clear and structured communication strategy. His main training-point was that in politics, nothing counts more than being able to tell the media, and the public, what you stand for, why you stand for it, and how you are going to make it happen, once in power.

The third session was about personal storrytelling. Jan Huitema, MEP told about his own campaign and how he became MEP. His example is an extraordinary one because Jan Huitema was number six on the list but he rose three places just with preferential votes, and thereby becoming elected for European Parliament. His strategy showed the participants what kind of campaign works and that every campaign should be personalized to the targeted group of voters. The training day ended with a diner with all the participants who could further exchange ideas about the different sessions.

The next day all the participants were invited to the VVD Europe Day where they met with all three MEP’s and also VVD’s main candidate for the EP, Malik Azmani. They also had a productive meeting with Mark Rutte who shared some stories from his personal experiences in Europe, at the end a group photo was taken.

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