Empowering Greece's female future
In the vibrant city of Athens, a group of progressive women recently gathered for the second session of the Political Leadership Development Training, organized by the Liberal Alliance (FISY) and supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Greece and Cyprus. The central theme of this session was clear and compelling: empowering and preparing women to take an active role in Greek politics.
Over two intensive days on September 23 and 24, participants engaged in a series of enlightening discussions, hands-on workshops, and experiences aimed at equipping aspiring female political leaders with the skills and confidence needed to navigate the intricate landscape of Greek politics.
Day 1: The journey continues
The event commenced with a warm welcome from Alona Tatarova, Project Coordinator of FNF Greece and Cyprus, and Eleni Siapikoudi, Project Assistant. The organizers emphasized the importance of continuous learning and personal growth by connecting the day's lessons to the previous session.
In the morning, attendees were treated to a captivating talk by Alexandros Harkiolakis, a musicologist and Director of the "Friends of Music" Association. His discussion delved into the intricate balance between personal authenticity and political engagement, stressing the importance of remaining true to oneself and one's personal life when entering the world of politics—a message profoundly resonant in an arena often dominated by scripted personas. Mr. Harkiolakis also explored the evolving preferences of voters, emphasizing the growing trend among voters to connect with "people" rather than just political programs, a vital insight for aspiring political leaders.
Next, Georgia Karvounaki, with her background in Greek Civilization and an MSc in Creative Writing, led an interactive workshop titled "Writing the Script of my Life." In this engaging session, Mrs. Karvounaki nurtured attendees' creativity in writing and presenting themselves as candidates. She shared strategies for crafting compelling narratives and delivering impactful messages, crucial skills for any political aspirant in the modern landscape. As the morning session wrapped up, attendees were armed not only with practical knowledge but also with a profound understanding of the importance of authenticity and creative storytelling in the realm of politics.
The afternoon session was led by Alexander Skouras, President of the Center for Liberal Studies. Mr. Skouras initiated a thought-provoking discussion about the mission of a politician, challenging participants to reflect on their own motivations and objectives in entering the world of politics. Mr. Skouras further delved into political campaigning, exploring best practices and rules governing the process of getting the vote. Participants gained valuable insights into the art of running a successful political campaign, learning how to navigate the intricate web of campaign strategies.
Day 2: Community and inclusion
The participants were welcomed on the second day by the organizers, and Eleni Siapikoudi followed with a thought-provoking session on "Looking Closer at Our Neighborhoods: political insights" where attendees shared their own stories on how they see everyday life in their cities and neighborhoods and the changes needed.
The day's schedule continued with a session led by Nancy Papathanasiou, a Clinical Psychologist and Adjunct Lecturer, who joined the event via Zoom to explore "Inclusion and Visibility in Politics".
The event took a practical and realistic turn with Melina Daskalakis, lawyer and Athens city councilor, who shared insights on "Local Government in Practice." Attendees gained a deeper understanding of the inner workings of local politics, discovering the mechanisms that drive change at the community level. Melina Daskalakis delved into the nuanced distinction between politics and activism, underscoring the importance of negotiation skills and recognizing when to pick one's battles and when to retreat—a skill crucial for successful navigation in the world of politics.
The day culminated in an immersive "Female Empowerment Walk" led by Indie Horizons TC and Andromachos Dimitrokallis, a Business & Personal Development Coach. This thematic walk explored various facets of change within the local landscape, touching on architecture, history, immigration, tourism, environment, development, and the future.
As the second day drew to a close, participants left with new and renewed skills, ideas and experiences, better prepared to navigate the complex landscape of politics with professionalism, resilience, compassion, and commitment to make a meaningful impact.
We wish the women who took part in the program and are running in the upcoming municipal elections the best of luck!