ALDA’s Strategic Vision for the Future: The new Governing Board will guide the Association until 2028

Май 14, 2024

During the ALDA Festival and General Assembly 2024, — Local Democracy will Save Democracy, which took place from May 13 to 15 2024 in the vibrant city of Barcelona, Spain, a significant moment unfolded on the first day, marking an important evolution as the new Governing Board of the Association was elected

This annual General Assembly held particular importance as it encompassed the elections for a new Governing Board mandate, which will guide ALDA’s direction until 2028, along with the formulation of a refreshed Strategy for the upcoming four years.

The renewed ALDA approach will pursue the organisation’s ongoing commitment to the promotion of democracy, good governance, and citizen participation, thereby strengthening its global impact.

The new ALDA Governing Board will lead the entire Association from 2024 until 2028

The elective segment of the General Assembly commenced with a concise introduction of each candidate and their respective ALDA-Member Organisation, shedding light on their compelling reasons for seeking a position on the Board. Subsequently, all members present participated in an anonymous voting process, casting twelve preferences in a ballot to elect the new Governing Board of the Association.

Following a meticulous scrutiny process conducted in a closed session by a jury approved by the members themselves, the Assembly proceeded to witness the official proclamation of the new Governing Board of ALDA. We take great pride in announcing the esteemed individuals who comprise this board:

Ms. Nataša Vučković, Center for Democracy Foundation (Serbia). Ms. Vučković, President of the Center for Democracy Foundation (CDF) in Belgrade, Serbia, has extensive experience in civil society and politics. As a founding member and Secretary General of CDF since 1994, she focuses on democratic institution support, youth education, and regional cooperation. She served in the Serbian National Assembly for thirteen years, chairing the Committee for European Integration. Since 2020 she has been a member of the ALDA Governing Board and in 2023 she was elected Vice President of the Association. Ms. Vučković will now keep contributing to ALDA’s work under the important role of President. 

Mr. Emir Coric, Municipality of Centar (North Macedonia). Mr. Coric currently works as an advisor and project coordinator at the Ministry of Local-Self Government. With expertise in community development and civic participation, he served as a member of the ALDA Governing Board for the previous mandate and he will continue his journey in the Association as newly elected Vice President.

Mr. Maurizio Camin, Association “Trentino con i Balcani” (Italy). Mr. Camin has over 10 years of experience in international cooperation, primarily in Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, and Albania on behalf of the Autonomous Province of Trento. He promotes sustainable development, human rights, and global citizenship, fostering an inclusive Balkan reality. With expertise in participatory democracy, Mr. Camin supports peaceful coexistence between communities and marginalised groups. After serving as a member of the governing board, he will now fill the role of Vice President for the mandate 2024-2028.

Mr. Roger Lawrence, individual member (United Kingdom). Dr. Lawrence, an individual member and former leader of Wolverhampton, UK, holds a doctorate in European Regional Policy from the University of Bristol. He led Wolverhampton City Council from 2002 to 2020 and remains an elected councilor with regional roles. He has been involved with ALDA since the early 2000s and served as Treasurer of the ALDA Governing Board from 2008 to 2024. He will now fill in the role of Vice President.

Mr. Oriano Otočan, Istria Region (Croatia). Mr. Otočan represents the Region of Istria, Croatia. Since 2005, he has served as a Member of the Regional Government and later as Director of the Department for International Cooperation and European Integration. He has extensive experience in minority rights, local development, interregional cooperation, and international organisations. With deep knowledge of the Euro-integration process and Southeast Europe’s political landscape, he worked in the European Parliament from 2014 to 2019 as a Policy Advisor and Head of Office for an MEP. He has been President of ALDA since 2012 and he will now serve as Treasurer.

Mr. Andrea Rilievo, Social Cooperative “Studio Progetto” (Italy). Mr. Rilievo is the President of the social cooperative Studio Progetto in Cornedo Vicentino, Italy, with 35 years of experience in social projects for disadvantaged people, focusing on job placement. His organisation provides various services for young people, the elderly, those with disabilities, migrants, refugees, and the community, including basic health services. Rilievo is an expert in the nonprofit development model and social inclusion. He will now embark in another mandate as member of the Governing Board of ALDA.

Ms. Marta Sys, Merkury Foundation (Poland). Ms. Sys represents the Merkury Foundation in Walbrzych, Poland, and is a lawyer, EU consultant, trainer, and project coordinator. With extensive experience in fundraising from private, national, and European sources, she focuses on supporting non-governmental organisations, building civil society, and promoting EU values. Sys is actively involved in local and regional initiatives in Lower Silesia dedicated to civil society and social economy development, notably as coordinator of the EU-funded Muflon Partnership project. She continues her journey as a member of the Governing Board also for the 2024-2028 mandate.

Ms. Maddalena Alberti, Association Ambasciata della Democrazia Locale a Zavidovici (Italy). With expertise in migration, she has worked for several Italian municipalities, designing services, building relationships with migrant citizens, and promoting inclusion processes. Specialising in housing, legal assistance, and labor integration, Mrs. Alberti has also served on the Advisory Board of ALDA for the Migration Thematic Hub since 2023.

PhD. Inna Volkova, Odesa Rayon Council, Ukraine. PhD Volkova is an active member of Odesa Rayon Council, Ukraine. She contributes to local governance, civic initiatives, and international cooperation. As Head of the Coordination Headquarters for humanitarian aid from 2022 to 2023, she gained practical insights from an internship at the German Federal Foreign Office. Mrs. Volkova was previously a member of ALDA Advisory Board, contributing to the Thematic HUB on Civic Engagement.

Ms. Núria Parlón Gil, Diputación de Barcelona (Spain). Ms. Parlón Gil is the Deputy for the Presidency and Delegate for International Relations of Diputación de Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain. She oversees International Relations, Agenda 2030, New Urban Agenda, and Public Policies Innovation. Mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramenet since 2009, she also coordinates the Network of Trafficking-Free Municipalities. She served as a deputy in the Parliament of Catalonia from 2012 to 2015 where she was in charge of the “Feminism and equality” area, the “Democratic Memory” and Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralisation. Since 2024, she is now a member on ALDA’s Governing Board.

Mr. Thibaut Guignard, Plœuc-L’Hermitage Municipality (France). Mr. Guignard is a staunch advocate for European rural areas. Mayor of Plœuc-L’Hermitage, France, he has spearheaded numerous European cooperation initiatives since 2008, notably as Director of the Leader program of the Pays of South Saint-Brieuc. He believes in bottom-up approaches and Community-Led Local Development to empower rural areas, promoting their participation in EU opportunities. Guignard is an expert in rural promotion and serves as an observer Member of the ALDA Governing Board since 2023.

PhD Mario Žuliček, Association of Cities of the Republic of Croatia (Croatia). Mr. Žuliček, Advisor at the Association of Cities of the Republic of Croatia in Zagreb, holds a PhD in communication elements that encourage citizen cooperation and involvement in decision-making. He coordinates participatory budgeting and youth policy certification for Croatian cities, implements participatory processes at various levels, and mentors the Europe Goes Local project. Additionally, he educates local youth council members. Mr. Žuliček is now a member of ALDA’s Governing Board.

Ms. Irina Sahakyan Vetter, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. Ms, Sahakyan Vetter, Head of Partnerships for the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, builds relationships with EU institutions, European associations, the UN, and non-member states. Formerly, she was Country Director for Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus at the UN Office for Project Services and Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade. She has worked in the Canadian public service, WHO, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. With extensive international development experience, she focuses on local democracy, governance, human rights, and health. She holds degrees from the University of Ottawa, University of Massachusetts, and Stanford University.

Mr. Kerim Medjedovic, delegate of the Local Democracy Agency Montenegro and ALDA Governing Board member, became a peace and civil activist in the 1990s. Since 2004, as Executive Director of LDA Montenegro, he has led EU-funded projects on governance, youth empowerment, and local development, promoting citizen participation and social economy initiatives. Born in Podgorica in 1973, he graduated from the University of Podgorica and studied Peace Research at the University of Oslo. He will represent the interests of the Local Democracy Agencies in the Board for 2024.

In addition to the elected members, the Board includes two statutory members: a representative from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (Ms. Irina Sahakyan Vetter) and a representative of the LDAs network (Mr. Kerim Medjedovic).

«We sincerely thank every member of the outgoing Governing Board for their dedication and service,» said ALDA Secretary General, Antonella Valmborbida. 

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

We wish them all the best for the next four years of work and dedication to the ALDA Governing Board. We would like to extend our particular congratulations and appreciation to Ms. Nataša Vučković, elected as the new President of ALDA, and to Mr. Emir Coric, Mr. Maurizio Camin, and Mr. Roger Lawrence, already members of the Board and newly elected as Vice Presidents of ALDA. ALDA’s outgoing president, Mr. Oriano Otočan, will continue to work within the Governing Board in the role of Treasurer.

It is with immense pride that we, on behalf of the entire Association, express our gratitude for the stewardship and representation offered by this distinguished Governing Board. Comprised of highly qualified and experienced individuals, their collective expertise mirrors the geographical and cultural diversity that lies at the heart of ALDA’s values. We extend our best wishes to them as they embark on their important work.

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