North America (NA) Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Congress (Part 2)
Part 2 Reportage
The second part of the reportage covers seminars, and election of a new leadership for NA EPDP region, which will serve for the next two years.
Seminars by Department Heads/Senior Staff Members
EPDP on the Realization of Positive Change
Mr. Gerezghiher Tewelde, Dr. Gebre Habteyonas, and Mr. Goitom Emmam discussed “EPDP on the Realization of Positive Change”, describing the components that makes a political Party successful in achieving a positive change, which will lay the foundation towards meeting its objectives. The discussion highlighted the following components as part of the main instruments that should define what type of change is needed as well as the type of pillars upon which change is based in order to enhance the objectives and vision a Political Party wants to achieve. The panelists spoke of democracy, peace, justice, harmony, and prosperity as the goal of a positive change. The second component is strategy, which defines the blue print or roadmap how to achieve a positive change; it is like using a GPS. Resource, which includes human and material, was highlighted as another important component EPDP should utilize to carry out or achieve its objectives/a positive change. The last components were communication and influence that defines the way in which EPDP should build its media/network and utilize it to reach out the vast majority of Eritrean people. The panelists stressed the importance of media/network as it reaches many people and encourages interaction, engagement, and dialogue among Eritreans. Overall, the seminar was uplifting. The panelists concluded in a positive note that members of EPDP have endless opportunities and access to achieve the national vision, a vision that entails democracy and constitutional system in Eritrea if they struggle to define and articulate the process that will enable them to reach there. That is by realizing a positive change we can ensure a political system in Eritrea in which the supreme power lies in the hands of Eritrean people.
Mr. Yohannes Misgina, head of Youth Association EPDP NA region discussed about the challenges Eritrean youth are facing in the opposition, especially the alienation and marginalization, disorganization, and the lack of trust were some of the underlining causes that undermines their ability to be the power to defeat the PFDJ regime and play a role in building their nation. Unity and developing one voice among the Eritrean youth were also discussed as a stepping-stone to reverse the prevailing challenges of Eritrean youth. Mr. Yohannes further talked about change in youth’s thinking and culture, noting that only change can transform the youth movement to lead its future and the future of the nation.
Mr. Goitom Emam, Head of EPDP Finance Office, presented in depth the accomplished tasks and financial activities of EPDP since the first Congress. He explained in detail the process and flow of financial information from bottom up (from Branches up to Finance Head Office). Mr. Goitom further illustrated through PowerPoint presentation on how to prepare and complete the Branch and Regional quarterly financial reports and how they can get reconciled with bank statements. The regionally completed financial forms are the backbone or the main source of EPDP Global Financial information or statements. He also highlighted about the budget development process and the statistical data and information needed to develop a yearly budget whether it is on a departmental, regional or global level. Mr. Goitom underlined the need of workshop to develop money-generating ideas through brainstorming among members. He re-iterated that all EPDP members should play a role in making it a success. At the end, for greater transparency and for members to know the financial status of the organization, he reported the regional and global financial statement (revenue, expenditures and balances) as of March 31, 2012. He also answered questions of the congress participants.
Mobilization and organization
Mr. Tesfamichael Yohannes, Head of Organizational Office, spoke of the role of EPDP members within the Party, their goals with respect to their understanding of “change” and how it transforms as a solid fundamental concept to the Eritrean people. By pointing out the necessity of change in our thinking and behavior, Mr. Tesfamichael underlined the positive results to the struggle for democracy and freedom in Eritrea. He said EPDP organizational office has been engaged in awareness campaign to its members, using biweekly seminars and discussion forums. These seminars are focused on democracy, mobilization and campaign, reconciliation, motivation, reaching out …etc. Mr. Tesfamichael wrapped his discussion, noting that the struggle for democracy and freedom in Eritrea is achieved only by including the vast majority of Eritreans, the stakeholders, and based on changing our thinking that translates Eritrea to a sustainable and peaceful country.
Mr. Alem Yohannes, senior member of EPDP Foreign Relations Office, highlighted the challenges EPDP faces in the international diplomacy, and what steps it is being taken to improve it. Mr. Alem discussed EPDP’s state of diplomatic relations with Ethiopia and Sudan in particular and with other regional countries in general. He also spoke of EPDP’s diplomatic activities across European countries. Mr. Alem said EPDP will continue to explore means of enhancing its diplomatic activities with neighboring countries and others based on mutual interest and non-interference principle. Mr. Alem also elaborated his office’s intensive work on behalf Eritrean refugees who leave the country in droves by working with host governments to elevate their suffering and ease asylum-processing requirements. He also mentioned that the Eritrean regime is diplomatically isolated from the international community and it is on its last breath. In conclusion, Mr. Alem underscored the importance of collective mass mobilization inside Eritrea and abroad to get rid of the PFDJ regime once and for all.
Empowering Eritrean Women
Ms. Eritra Alazar, Head of EPDP Women’s Office, focused her presentation on the role of Eritrean women in the struggle for democracy and their limited influence in the decision-making within the Eritrean opposition forces. She touched on the work of EPDP, noting the limited accomplishments it has achieved in empowering Eritrean women. Ms. Eritra discussed the limits and obstacles that still exist for Eritrean women. She spoke of strategies of empowering women in the struggle for their rights. She also shared some of the experiences of EPDP Women’s office in areas where Eritrean refugee women are staying, especially Eritrean refugee women who are staying in the refugee camps of Northern Ethiopia and Eastern Sudan. Ms. Eritra concluded that EPDP will continue to work with civic societies and other entities whose aim is to empower Eritrean women.
Social Affairs Activities
Mr. Fissahaye Hagos, senior member EPDP Social Affairs Office, discussed one of the major roles of his office, which is to assist and advocate on behalf Wadi Sharifey Eritrean refugee school in Eastern Sudan and Eritrean disabled war veterans. He described the current budget shortfall of the Wadi Sherifey School, and the limitations it is facing to raise funds as the main donors of the school are hit by the current world recession. Mr. Fessehaye explained some options, which might alleviate the budget shortfall of the school. He focused his discussion on how to secure a sustainable budget for the school. In the question and answer time, there were few alternatives suggested.
Election of NA leadership
The NA EPDP congress participants wrapped their two day deliberations, electing a new leadership consisted of seven and two alternate leaders. The new leadership held its first meeting and drew its preliminary plans for the region.
A note of appreciation and thanks to Indianapolis Branch
The Indianapolis branch members played a big role in organizing the congress. The congress participants were treated to a host of social activities and entertainment by the branch. Their attention to detail and superb planning enabled the participants to run the event smoothly. Thanks Indianapolis for making the congress so successful.
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