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Statement of Sympathy regarding the death of Sir David Amess

20 October,  2021

A statement regarding the death of Sir David Amess, from the International Association of Political Consultants, and European Association of Political Consultants.

 

On Friday the 15th October, a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom was murdered as he conducted his constituency meetings with residents. The IAPC and EAPC, as professional organizations focused on the expansion of democracy, view this horrific act as an attack on democracy itself. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sir David’s family, and all elected politicians, at this difficult time.

 

Regardless of their political agenda, all politicians must be able to engage directly with voters and be able to do so without fear of reprisal or personal threats.

 

The tragic loss of Sir David Amess, who leaves behind his wife of almost 30 years and five children, will be felt across the UK. Whilst measures will be encouraged to put a distance between MPs and voters, we must work together to find a solution that makes it safer for politicians to meet with voters more, not less. We at the IAPC and EAPC support closer interactions with voters and encourage a sensible balance between politicians’ security and accessibility. 

 

Over the last five years in the UK, two Members of Parliament have been murdered, while hundreds of others have received death threats. The anger and hatred of those intent on stopping democratically elected representatives from going about their jobs must be met with more democracy and a global effort to encourage the removal of hatred from the political space.  

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Democracy Activist Turns 25 Today in Prison

13 October,  2021

Renowned democracy activist, Joshua Wong, spent his 25th birthday today (13 October 2021) in Skek Pik maximum security prison for male adults on Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

 

Joshua Wong has been imprisoned three times for unauthorised pro-democracy protests and unlawful assembly stretching back to the Umbrella Movement mass protests of 2014 and earlier when he organised a 2012 political rally of 100,000 Hong Kong residents.

 

The Chinese Government’s implementation of the national security law in June 2020 resulted in the jailing of democracy champions like Joshua Wong and publisher Jimmy Lai. It curtailed the “One country, Two Systems” promise given when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China.

 

Mauricio de Vengoechea, President of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), said, “We should not forget that Joshua Wong and fellow Hong Kong young democracy activists have received widespread global recognition and support including the 2018 award of the IAPC Democracy Medal by members of the International Association of Political Consultants from 30 nations.”

 

This included the US Congress passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act;

nominations by TIME and Fortune magazines; nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize; and

condemnation of Joshua’s imprisonment from many leaders and legislators including the U.K., Germany, Japan, Taiwan and USA.

 

Joshua’s family were welcomed to Australia in early 2021.

 

IAPC has awarded the IAPC Democracy Medal annually on 38 occasions since the 1980s, making it one of the oldest such awards in the world. It will be announcing the 2021 recipient voted by its members during its annual worldwide conference 4-5 November 2021.

 

The Medal is awarded to an individual or organization who has worked courageously to foster, promote and sustain the democratic process anywhere in the world.

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IAPC Nov. 2021 Conference – 100% Virtual

8 October,  2021

Dear IAPC Colleagues,

 

With continuing uncertainty regarding COVID related travel and meeting restrictions, your IAPC board of directors unanimously voted to hold our 2021 conference via a virtual platform again this year.

 

Save the dates of November 4th and 5th, 2021, for our 54th World Conference! This year's theme is "Zooming Into the Future!" We will have a balanced program of panels and keynote speakers. More information to come soon!

 

As an incentive to existing IAPC members to renew your membership with the automatic annual renewal option selected, your $250 USD membership renewal fee will include complimentary 2021 conference registration! More information on how to renew your membership will be sent soon. For new members, your $400 initial membership fee will also include the conference registration!

 

This has been a difficult couple years for all associations and we truly appreciate your continued IAPC membership and support.

 

See you in November.

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Statement by Maurucio de Vengoechea, IAPC President, on the Seamless Transition of Power with Inauguration of President Joe Biden

20 January 2021

Mauricio de Vengoechea, president of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), issued this statement following yesterday’s Inauguration of President Joseph R Biden, Jr.:

“Yesterday’s inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden as the 46th president of the United States struck the right tone for an American nation that has experienced such tremendous division during the past four years and especially during the past two weeks’ turmoil.

“By focusing his remarks on unity, decency and renewing America, President Biden’s call to ‘stop the shouting and lower the temperature’ will hopefully help cool political temperatures in Washington, D.C.

“The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of elections around the world. The events of January 6 highlighted that even in America, one of the world’s most stable democracies, it is fragile and must be protected.

About the IAPC:

Since 1968, the International Association of Political Consultants, an organization of political consultants worldwide, has committed itself to fostering democracy and the democratic process throughout the world. Learn more at www.iapc.org.

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Statement by Maurucio de Vengoechea, IAPC President, on Today's Events at the U.S. Capitol 

06 January 2021

MIAMI, FLA. (January 6, 2021) – Mauricio de Vengoechea, president of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), issued the following statement:

“Today is a dark day for democracy, the democratic process and the peaceful transition of power. On the day when the United States Congress undertakes its solemn and constitutionally mandated responsibility to officially count Electoral College votes, supporters of Donald Trump’s fraudulent election claims marched on the Capitol and rioted. These despicable acts resulted in at least one death, desecrated the U.S. Capitol and represent images often seen on television in other countries around the world.

 

“Since November 3, vast segments of the American public have been bombarded with Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen and results were fraudulent. None of these spurious claims have been proven. In fact, they have all been disproven in court.

 

“Today’s violence and disorder highlights that democracy is fragile. But hope springs eternal for a brighter day. America’s leaders must do better – if not immediately then on January 20 and thereafter. American voters and democracy deserve better.

 

“With more than 50 years as a global champion of democracy, the IAPC believes these events underscore the importance of ethical leadership, election transparency, respect for the facts and understanding and respect of due process in constitutional democracies.

 

About the IAPC:

Since 1968, the International Association of Political Consultants, an organization of political consultants worldwide, has committed itself to fostering democracy and the democratic process throughout the world. Learn more at www.iapc.org.

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52nd IAPC World Conference on the Danube delighted the participants

19 December 2019

View conference photos here.

Some 120 participants from 26 nations appeared deeply impressed by the 52nd IAPC World Conference, which took place on a Danube river cruise from Passau to Vienna from 8 to 12 November 2019. Under the general question of the conference: “Democracy under pressure?”, around fifty speakers gave presentations and discussed the worldwide development of democracy in addition to revealing the latest trends in political campaigning.

An outstanding start with Max Zirngast

The conference began with the Austrian journalist Max Zirngast, who had been indicted in Turkey in 2018 for membership of a terrorist organization and spent over three months in a high-security prison before being acquitted in September 2019. He not only outlined developments in Turkey, but also presented a global review that confirms legitimate concerns about the state of democracy around the world. The lead-in was presented by former IAPC President Volker Riegger. Furthermore, the “Democracy in Danger” session also featured numerous examples from countries around the world where the quality of democracy has been compromised. In this regard, a discussion on the situation in Latin America, Russia and Scandinavia was hosted by Faye Diamond / USA and featured Mauricio De Vengoechea / Colombia, Ekaterina Egorova / Russia as well as Torbjörn Sjöström / Sweden.

The Rise of Women and the Challenge We Face

The first morning of the 52nd World Conference ended with a stimulating round table discussion on the role and challenges of women in society. Hosted by Mina Jordeby / Sweden, the discussion featured Regula Bühlmann / Switzerland, Ondine Fortune / USA, Milica Katic / Serbia and Justine Gaspar / Malta.

Visit to the Mauthausen Memorial

The afternoon of the first day of the conference was marked by a commemoration of the horrors of the Second World War. The guided tour through the former Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz and, in particular, the observation of a minute’s silence at the roll call ground with readings by Faye Diamond and Marcel Wieder was an extremely sobering experience for many of the participants. The event concluded with a presentation by former Austrian President Dr Heinz Fischer on “Democracy under pressure – learning from the past”, who was introduced by Sepp Hartinger / Austria. In his address, Dr Fischer shed detailed light on the background to this history and pointed to the lessons to be learned from it.

Europe as the lead-in to the second day

The second day of the conference began with a session on Europe and the EU in which the former Prime Minister of Slovenia and long-time MEP Alojz Peterle as well as Andreas Pfeifer, head of the foreign policy editorial department of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF and Gerda Füricht-Fiegl from Danube University Krems examined various problems and outlined ways and solutions. The session was hosted by Susanne Hartinger / Austria.

New trends in political communication

A further thematic focus consisted of presentations on the latest trends from all over the world. Participants followed the presentations with great interest. Hosted by Program Chair Melissa Cressey / USA, exciting news from a wide variety of campaigning disciplines was presented by Feyi Akindoyeni from Australia as well as Adam Hyland, Aubrey Montgomery, Josh Nanberg and Brent Buchanan from the USA.

Austria session at Danube University

One of the key issues discussed at Danube University in the afternoon was the state of Austrian politics. Hosted by Christoph Hofinger, this segment featured contributions by Katrin Praprotnik, Tamara Ehs and Judith Kohlenberger. An inspiring wine tasting at Nikolaihof, the world’s oldest winery, and an exclusive nighttime visit to the Krems art gallery completed the day’s schedule before the conference cruiser set off for Vienna.

US politics and elections around the world

The third day of the conference began with a guest presentation by Jim Gilmore, the American Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He emphasized the organization's importance to the world before dedicating himself to his theme: “Has President Trump changed democracy?” The session was hosted by Tom Edmonds / USA. Following this, assessments regarding the 2020 US presidential election were outlined by Doc Sweitzer for the US Democrats and Matt Klink for the US Republicans in a segment hosted by Dave Catanese before Kehinde Bamigbetan / Nigeria, Marilu Brajer / Argentina, Marcel Wieder / Canada, Necati Özkan / Turkey and Jan Juul Christensen / Denmark presented election campaigns from across the world in a session chaired by Crystal Martin / USA.

Award of the IAPC Democracy Medal as a grand finale

The official part of the 52nd World Conference concluded with the award of the IAPC Democracy Medal to Ekrem Imamoglu, the new mayor of Istanbul. The award was received on his behalf by Emrah Sahan, project coordinator of the Istanbul election campaign, in particular for conducting an election campaign without aggression and for his efforts as a peacemaker after the first elections had been annulled in Istanbul.

Visit to UNO-City Vienna

Another highlight of the accompanying program was a guided tour of UNO-City Vienna and a presentation given by Martin Nesirky, Director of UNIS Vienna.

The lifetime achievement award went to Sepp Hartinger

During the final gala dinner on board, Sepp Hartinger, Austria, a member of the IAPC since 1982 and its President from 1999-2001, was awarded the “Joe Napolitan & Michel Bongrand Founder Award for Lifetime Achievement” for the services he has rendered to the Association. Following on from Bo Krogvig / Sweden and Jon Gaul / Australia, he is the third member of the IAPC to receive this honor.

New Board of Directors

In addition, a comprehensive structural reform, prepared by President Mehmet Ural, was adopted at the IAPC General Assembly. This provides for a drastic reduction in the number of board members and a fixed allocation of responsibilities for each individual board member. The new 13-member Board of Directors was elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall commence its duties on 1 January 2020. It is composed as follows:

  • President: Mauricio De Vengoechea, Colombia

  • Treasurer: Melissa Cressey, USA

  • Secretary General: Matt Klink, USA

  • Vice President, Membership: Marilu Brajer, Argentina

  • Vice President, Conferences & Events: Crystal Martin, USA

  • Vice President, Fundraising: Wayne Johnson, USA

  • Vice President, Communications: Necati Özkan, Turkey

  • Vice President, Awards: Mina Jordeby, Sweden

  • Board Member, Membership: Marcel Wieder, Canada

  • Board Member, Conference & Events: Justino Pereira, Brazil

  • Board Member, Fundraising: Sal Russo, USA

  • Board Member, Communication: Kurtis Adigba, Nigeria

  • Board Member, Awards: Feyi Akindoyeni, Australia

 

Unforgettable impressions

All in all, the 52nd World Conference, which was staged for the first time on a river cruiser, offered unique impressions, both in regard to the speakers and the accompanying program. The discovery of such magnificent landscapes along the Danube shall also help the 52nd World Conference to long be remembered by all those who attended it. At this point we wish to express our special gratitude to all the participants and speakers, and in particular to Melissa Cressey as Program Chair, Sepp Hartinger as Conference Chair as well as to all our sponsors and the entire team of Hartinger Consulting for the implementation and organization of this event.

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When The International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) awarded the 2018 Democracy Medal, the world’s longest standing international democracy award, to three prominent Hong Kong democracy activist -Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow; young student leaders of the Umbrella Movement- we knew their struggle was important.

Today in Hong Kong millions of people are protesting to have their democratic rights protected. Sadly enough, Joshua Wong has been arrested by the Hong Kong police, along with over 900 other Hong Kong citizens protesting the pending extradition law, police brutality and lack of universal suffrage for free and fair elections in Hong Kong.

 

IAPC in the strongest terms condemns this political crackdown in defense of the rule of law, human rights and freedom of speech. IAPC invites the world to speak up for Hong Kong.

 

Global attention and protest may be the only protection such brave Hong Kong people have.

 

Click to download IAPC President Mehmet Ural’s letter to Carrie Lam -The Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region- and IAPC’s Press Release.

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HONG KONG PROTESTS A TIMELY REMINDER THAT DEMOCRACY MATTERS

When the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) awarded the 2018 Democracy Medal to three prominent Hong Kong democracy activists – Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, student leaders of the Umbrella Movement – we knew their struggle was important.

The same brave young people who are today helping to inspire others in Hong Kong to fight for their human rights, were recognised at the IAPC’s 51st World Conference in Sydney, Australia last year.

 

“Millions of people in Hong Kong are today protesting to have their democratic rights protected and are winning in an incredible display of people power.” Stated IAPC President, Mehmet Ural, “It’s important to recognise and celebrate the brave people who risk life and liberty to protect the democratic rights of many. Recognition and global attention may be the only protection such brave people have.”

 

In 2018 the IAPC’s international membership voted to award the world’s longest-standing international democracy award to Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, young student leaders of Hong Kong’s civil disobedience Umbrella Movement, also known as Occupy Central.

 

“The 2018 IAPC Democracy Medal award recognised the courage and persistence of these student leaders to promote and sustain autonomy and democratic freedoms for Hong Kong in the face of increasing political control by the pro-Beijing authorities.

 

“As the global expansion of democracy has recently faltered against populist and authoritarian trends, their democratic mission offers a shining example for young citizens worldwide to emulate,” Mr Ural said.

 

Joshua Wong and his colleagues initiated the 79-day sit-in protest in Hong Kong from September 2014, the largest political demonstration in China since Tiananmen Square.

 

In August 2017, Joshua Wong (then 21), Nathan Law (24) and Alex Chow (27) were convicted and jailed for six to eight months for their roles in the early stages of the 2014 protests, barring them from running for political office for five years.

 

But in a stunning victory for the three young democracy leaders, Hong Kong’s highest court in February 2018 overturned the prison sentences of the trio. They had already served two months of their sentences when released on bail in November 2017.

 

Despite prison terms, political pressure and physical assaults, Joshua Wong and his colleagues remain defiant, continuing the peaceful efforts of the student leaders to achieve universal suffrage and protect the autonomy and freedoms guaranteed Hong Kong in the Sino-British joint declaration.

 

This declaration returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997 after 150 years as a British colony under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, allowing the former colony to maintain its unique political and economic system with rights of free speech, free press and free assembly guaranteed until 2047. But critics accuse Beijing of creeping interference in the city’s affairs and its government of toeing the Beijing line.

 

Further information:
Jon Gaul | +61 414 603 133

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Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar:  Today, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar received her certificate and bronze medal for the International Association of Political Consultants’ (IAPC) Democracy Award which she won in 1995.

Dr. Suu Kyi was awarded the Democracy Medal in 1995 however, the organization was unable to present it to her because of her house arrest during that time. Today, former president Rick Ridder and IAPC member Joannie Braden presented the award certificate and bronze medal to Dr. Suu Kyi in a ceremony in the Myanmar capital. 

Upon the presentation, Mr Ridder read the following:

Each year at its annual conference, the International Association of Political Consultants awards its Democracy Medal to an individual or organization who, in the judgment of its membership, has worked courageously to foster, promote and sustain the democratic process anywhere in the world.

A burnished rendering of the Acropolis is etched in relief on the face of the large bronze medal. The back side contains the engraved name of the recipient and the year it was given. Appropriately, the certificate which accompanies the Medal includes this universally recognized definition of democracy.

In 1995, the Democracy medal was awarded to Aung Son Suu Kyi by the members of the IAPC. But circumstances  prevented the presentation the medal at that time. Today on behalf the members of the IAPC, former president Bo Krogvig of Sweden, and current president Nancy Todd of the USA, I am pleased to present the Democracy Medal of the IAPC to Aung Son Suu Kyi of Myanmar 22 years later.

Dr. Suu Kyi in thanking the members of the IAPC reiterated her commitment to furthering democracy and free and fair elections. “It is a long road” she explained.