ILGA Europe Annual Conference 2014: Mobilising Leadership Panel

The Lafayette Practice’s Matthew “Matty” Hart recently moderated a powerful panel discussion at the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference 2014 in Riga, Latvia.

The Conference second panel ‘Mobilising Leadership’ brought together activists representing diverse aspects of LGBTI movements in different European countries. Among voices from Germany, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium and Cyprus, and Latvian LGBTI movement.
​This session focused on the dynamics and differences in leadership that each of the individuals and their organizations bring to the movement.

Panelists:  Julia Ehrt, Executive Director of Transgender Europe; Natia Gvianishvili, Program director at the Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group, Georgia; Linda Freimane, Mozaīka, Latvia; Emina Bošnjak, Programme Manager, Sarajevo Open Centre; Yves Aerts, Coordinator, çavaria, Belgium; and Costa Gavriliedes, Accept LGBT Cyprus. Response by Ulrike Lunacek, European Parliament.

Video of the panel was livestreamed and is now available to watch on vimeo! More about the panel below the video.

About the Panel
The European LGBTI movement increasingly finds itself at the crossroads of change. Where significant progress is made in some countries, deterioration of human rights of LGBTI people can be witnessed in others. The speed with which progress and wins come, vary considerably. But whether change comes overnight or only after years, change has one important common denominator: it can only be achieved through visionary leadership, endurance and strong partnerships.

How does the movement define successful change? How do we make sure that the change we create is sustainable for the community and deeply anchored in society? What can be done to help speed up reform, to influence public perception and opinion, to stimulate the development of new pieces of legislation and other positive measures? What are the triggers of political and social change? These are all central questions that we seek to answer during ILGA-Europe’s annual conference in Rīga.

We will look at best practices that drive change. We will unpack/explore characteristics of “good” leadership and look at other elements that can drive change at different levels. We will explore what are key factors in mobilising support, both politically, as well as in society. We will look at cases of exemplary leadership and provide stage to people who have been leading change in political arenas, in institutions, civil society, companies or elsewhere. We will reflect on the movement’s successes and failures will the goal to strengthen our approaches. We will ask ourselves how we can foster creativity, think more strategically and achieve new synergies.

All of the above mentioned questions and themes were discussed during workshops dedicated to specific topics. For example, participants will have the opportunity to interact and to share their experiences in workshops dedicated to LGBTI activism’s strategies for achieving policy changes on national and European level, reflections to past and future changes of LGBTI movement, capacity building for changing public perceptions on LGBTI issues, etc.

Furthermore, change can also come through building effective partnerships. Cooperation can happen at municipal, national and regional level, between great varieties of different stakeholders. This conference will provide the opportunity to evaluate existing partnerships and to create new ones, both during workshops, as well as during the many social events.