“Liberalism and Pertinent Environmental Challenges”
Climate change, environment and energy have been some of the most critical issues of the world. However, as a liberal, my quest is to find solutions in liberal ideas—solutions embedded in rational and practical thinking. Prior to attending the seminar ‘Liberals, Property and Environment’ at the International Academy of Leadership (IAF), I have participated in numerous workshops and discussions at various levels. However, the seminar at IAF gave me the opportunity to find a clear liberal perspective on these crucial developmental issues. As an advocacy consultant, it was important to reinvent my approach and enhance outreach to others.
Adept moderation and diverse participation: Emmanuel Martin and Sven Gerst were moderators with excellent know-how of the topic. Their eloquent, candid and motivating style made an informative discussion lively for all the participants and further increased my interest in the seminar. Similarly, 23 participants with diverse backgrounds made the group an ideal blend for enriched and meaningful discussions.
An interactive discourse: The interactive sessions and group-work on issues such as environmental degradation, private ownership, social norms, governance, and market mechanisms introduced us to fresh paradigms and key issues of today’s world. The participants with practical knowledge from different parts of the world allowed us to have detailed deliberations on specific environment and resources related situations.
Evidence gathering: The ‘excursion part’ of the seminar, that is, the visit to Antwerp, provided vital evidence on climate change. The visit made the participants realize that climate change has been around. The visit to the cheese factory in the Netherlands provided an insight on how private property and freedom to choose, lead to financial wellbeing of property owners, and ensure conservation of the environment. The reading materials including case studies from different parts of the world and dealing with diverse situations broadened our spectrum.
Face-to-face with experts: Discussions with experts provided us knowledge of various policies tackling environmental and energy related issues. Interactive participants enhanced the quality of discussions.
Clockwork precision: The seminar wouldn’t have been a success without the tireless efforts of the seminar team. The seminar assistants showed utmost dedication and were simply amazing.
Way forward: Considering the successes of the seminar and the quality of discussion, liberals around the world can benefit from this seminar in the following ways:
- Regular and organized follow-ups to disseminate knowledge to liberals and stakeholders, that is, from mainstream media to community level.
- The learning can be included in local seminars and workshops by liberal institutions and can be incorporated in IEC materials.
- The networking among the participants, experts and other stakeholders should be promoted as an ongoing process.
Shafqat Aziz is a communication professional and a liberal activist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He recently attended FNF-IAF’s leadership program in Gummersbach, Germany on Liberals, Property and Environment. In this report, he is sharing his thoughts.