Dear ALDA Members and Friends,
The year 2011 is drawing to a close and we can again say that it has been an extremely busy and successful one for our Association. The same is the case for theLocal Democracy Agencies. We have opened the 13th LDA in Gyumri in Armenia and are presently sorting out all the practical aspects so that the LDA can be fully operational soon in the new year. LDA Kosovo in Peja/Pechas been confirmed in its existence and is also now fully operational. In addition, ALDA has been closely associated with the EU’s Eastern Partnership and we are working closely with non state actors in Belarus to push for much needed democratisation of that country.
On active citizenship we have been nothing but active. Our General Assembly was held in conjunction with a well attended conference on Volunteering, a project called Stand-Up has been promoting cooperation between local authorities and civil society on facing the negative consequences of the financial crisis and yet another has been addressing the issue of Remembrance as a means to preserve a peaceful future for Europe.
2012 promises to be equally busy. Apart from our normal activities we will become more engaged with partners in the Mediterranean Region and try to offer our support and experience in assisting the civil society involved in the Arab Spring. To that end we have established a number of alliances with organisations with objectives similar to ours but also expect to rely on continuing good cooperation with European Institutions and partners.
As of late, there has been plenty of media hype about the Euro crisis and associated doomsday prophesies. However, against the background of all this noise we must not forget what the European Union has meant for peace and prosperity in Europe over the last 60 years. That is what is important! The EU’s efforts will continue and so will those of ALDA in promoting democracy, respect for human and minority rights and the rule of law.
Offering you on behalf of the ALDA Governing Board and Staff the best wishes for a Peaceful and Reflective Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2012 I also express the wish that we may continue to work together on these worthwhile issues in the new year, irrespective of the many demanding challenges I know you are also facing in your own communities. I send you a heartfelt Thank You!