Shaping the future of ALDA: Meet the Candidates for the 2024-2028 Governing Board Mandate!

Apr 29, 2024

On Monday, April 22, 2024, the ALDA Governing Board convened virtually to deliberate on the Association’s future strategy and to approve the roster of candidates contending for the new Governing Board term spanning 2024 to 2028. These candidates will undergo election during the forthcoming ALDA General Assembly 2024, slated from May 13 to 15 in Barcelona, Spain.

This year’s ALDA Festival and General Assembly 2024, themed “Local Democracy for Global Impact,” stands as a significant juncture for the entire ALDA Network. It will not only witness the endorsement of a new strategy charting the Association’s course from 2024 to 2028 but also the election of a Governing Board and President, who will steer ALDA’s trajectory until 2028.

The official release of the candidate list for these pivotal positions is now public, encompassing :

Ms. Maddalena Alberti is the Director of the Association Ambasciata della Democrazia Locale a Zavidovici, based in Brescia, Italy. She has worked for several Italian municipalities as an expert in migration, designing services, processes and building multi-stakeholder relationships with migrant citizens, as well as promoting inclusion processes and dialogue between local authorities, institutions, and citizens with a migratory background. Through her work with ADL Zavidovici, she specialised in material housing and legal assistance services, orientation and labor integration. Since 2021, she has been part of the Advisory Board of ALDA for the Migration Thematic Hub.

Mr. Oleksandr Bilenkyi represents the Poltava Regional Council, Ukraine. He is Chairman of the Poltava Regional Council, Chairman of the Association Poltava Regional Association of Local Self-Governments, and a public figure. He supports democratic principles at the local level, including the participation of citizens in decision-making and the development of local institutions are key in his activities. Since 2016 he has initiated the creation of mechanisms to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between different categories of residents of the communities of Poltava region and strives to scale this process.

Mr. Maurizio Camin is the Director of the association Trentino per i Balcani, based in Trento, Italy. He has more than 10 years of experience in international cooperation working mainly in Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Albania on mandate of the Autonomous Province of Trento. Through the association, he works to promote knowledge and awareness of sustainable development, human rights and global citizenship and collaborate to build an inclusive and open-minded Balkan reality. Thus, he has expertise in field work and participatory democracy projects for peaceful coexistence between communities and attention to fragile, weak and discriminated groups. He has been serving as a Member of ALDA Governing Board in the mandate 2020-2024.

Mr. Emir Coric, candidate of the Municipality of Centar-Skopje, North Macedonia. Currently working for the Ministry of Local-Self Government of North Macedonia as advisor and project coordinator in the local economic development department. Previously, he worked in the municipality of Centar as coordinator of the youth office. He gained a major expertise in community development, enhancing civic participation, and bridging the gap between citizens and decision-makers. He has been serving as a Member of ALDA Governing Board in the mandate 2020-2024. He is running for the position of Vice President.

Mr. Thibaut Guignard is the Mayor of Plœuc-L’Hermitage Municipality, France. He is a fervent defender of European rural areas, he was able to create several dynamics of European cooperation thanks to his different functions. Thus, since 2008, when he became Director of the Leader program of the Pays of South Saint-Brieuc, he has implemented European cooperation projects with stakeholders of the territory. Convinced of the success of the bottom-up approach and Community-Led Local Development, he persevered in the defense of rural areas at European level through the fulfillment of his mandates. He is an expert on promoting rural areas to allow them to discover all the opportunities allowed by the European Union and to promote their participation. He has been serving as an observer Member of the ALDA Governing Board since 2023.

Dr. Roger Lawrence is an individual member, former leader of Wolverhampton, UK. He holds a doctorate from the University of Bristol in European Regional Policy (cross border relations in Central and Eastern Europe). He led Wolverhampton City Council from 2002 to 2020 and remains an elected councilor with regional roles for transport and asylum/migration issues. His involvement with the ALDA goes back to early 2000 when Wolverhampton became lead partner for the Local Democracy Agency in Subotica. He has been serving as Treasurer of ALDA Governing Board since 2008. He is running for the position of treasurer.

Mr. Andrea Rilievo is the President of the social cooperative Studio Progetto, based in Cornedo Vicentino, Italy. His organisation has been working for 35 years in social projects for disadvantaged people, mainly dealing with job placement. He is also working on several social services for young people, for elderly people, for people with physical or psychiatric disabilities, for migrants and refugees and for the community as a whole, through basic health services. He is an expert in the social cooperation business model, based on nonprofit development and on human beings and social inclusion. He has been serving as a Member of the ALDA Governing Board in the mandate 2020-2024.

Ms. Marta Sys represents the Merkury Foundation, based in Walbrzych, Poland. She is a lawyer, EU consultant, trainer and project coordinator with significant experience in funds raising (from private, national and European sources) and in the field of supporting non-governmental organisations, building civil society, and raising awareness of EU values. She is involved in many actions on local and regional level (Lower Silesia) dedicated to civil society building and in social economy building prices in Poland as coordinator of an innovative project financed by EU initiative EQUAL called Muflon Partnership. She has been serving as a Member of the ALDA Governing Board since 2023.

PhD Inna Volkova is an active member of Odesa Rayon Council, Ukraine. She holds a PhD in Law. She has been serving in the Council since 2019, contributing to local governance, civic initiatives, and international cooperation. There, she served as Head of the Coordination Headquarters  on the receipt and distribution of humanitarian aid  in 2022-2023. Her perspective was enriched through the role of assistant on international issues to a Member of Parliament of Ukraine and through an internship at the German Federal Foreign Office in the framework of High Level Experts Programme (HLEP), where she gained practical insights aimed at implementing European expertise in Ukraine.She is part of the ALDA Advisory Board as an expert contributing to the Thematic HUB on Civic Engagement.

Ms. Nataša Vučković is the President of the Center for Democracy Foundation (CDF), based in Belgrade, Serbia. She has a large experience in the civil society in Serbia and in the Western Balkans as a founding member and secretary general of the CDF since 1994. In particular, her programme portfolio focuses on support for democratic institutions, youth and civic education, inclusive and participatory public policy design and regional cooperation. Along with her work in the civil society, she was a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia for thirteen years (2007-2020), where she served as chair of the parliamentary Committee for European Integration. In this capacity, she was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.  She has been serving as a Vice President of ALDA since 2023. She has been a member of the Governing board of ALDA since 2020. She is running for the position of President of the Association.

Mr. Francesco Zarzana is the President of the cultural association Progettarte, based in Modena, Italy. In addition, he is a journalist, writer, playwright and film director. He has experience of collaboration with ALDA for more than 15 years, giving support to the growth and the development of ALDA. Through his cultural work, he focuses on human rights, migration and gender equality. He has been serving as a Vice President of ALDA Governing Board in the mandate 2020-2024. He is running for the position of Vice President.

PhD Mario Žuliček is Advisor at the Association of Cities of the Republic of Croatia, based in Zagreb, Croatia. He holds a PhD on the topic of communication elements that positively influence people’s willingness to cooperate, which ultimately contributes to a motivation of citizens in being involved in decision-making processes. He is active in the implementation of various participatory processes at the local, national, and international levels. He coordinates the participatory budgeting mentoring programme for Croatian cities and the certification system for Croatian cities in the field of youth policies. He is an educator for local youth council members, and a mentor in the largest youth European project – Europe Goes Local.

Mr. Oriano Otočan represents the Region of Istria, Croatia. Since 2005, he served first as a Member of the Regional Government, and afterwards as Director of the Department in charge of international cooperation and European integration in the Region of Istria. He has significant experience in promoting minority rights, local development, interregional cooperation and the work of international organisations. He has deep knowledge of the Euro-integration process and of the current political reality of Southeast Europe. From 2014 to 2019 he has been working in the European Parliament as Policy advisor and Head of Office for a Member of the European Parliament. He has been serving as the President of ALDA since 2012.

Ms. Núria Parlón Gil is the Deputy for the Presidency and Delegate for International Relations of Diputación de Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain. She is also a Provincial Councillor in charge of International Relations, Agenda 2030, New Urban Agenda and Public Policies Innovation. She has also been serving as Mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramenet since 2009. She is also the national coordinator of the Network of Trafficking-Free Municipalities. From 2012 to 2015 she held a seat in the Parliament of Catalonia as a deputy for the Barcelona constituency. Among her responsibilities are the “Feminism and equality” area, the “Democratic Memory” and Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralisation.

The elections and proclamation of the new ALDA Governing Board for the period 2024-2028 will be a crucial moment for deep discussion and foresight into the future work of the Association.     

The renewed ALDA approach will pursue the Association’s unceasing day-to-day commitment to the promotion of democracy, good governance and citizen participation, strengthening its global impact.

Stay tuned for further updates on the ALDA pathway and the new dynamic strategy towards more resilient communities and an equal and inclusive society.