NAL Delegation and hosts at European Parliament
A senior delegation of the Network of Arab Liberals (NAL) visited Brussels for meetings with the European Commission and liberal leaders at the European Parliament. The meetings were part of a program co-sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) entitled "Liberal Approaches to Sustainable Migration Policies in the Mediterranean Region" and were a follow-up to internal discussions of the Network held in Tunis in August of this year.

At the European Parliament (EP), the Arab delegation held talks with Mrs. Neyts-Uyttebroeck and Baroness Sarah Ludford, members of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

In her welcoming remarks, Mrs. Neyts, who is also President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), stressed the importance of a political dialogue with the Network of Arab Liberals and praised NAL for what she called "extremely important and remarkable achievements" in developing programmatic principles for a liberal Arab migration policy.

Earlier, Mohamed Tamaldou, the President of the Network of Arab Liberals, had presented the so called Tunis principles on "Migration and Development". These state - among others - that "the relationship between the Arab world and Europe has a multidimensional strategic depth which requires from the liberal family an exceptional effort to fend off the threats of all forms of extremism through constructive and responsible dialogue". In her talk, Baroness Ludford highlighted the need for a common European migration policy: "We know that Europe needs migrants, but immigration must be well managed."

NAL leaders Hazem Kawasmi and Mohamed Tamaldou with ELDR.-President Mrs. Annemie Neyts

The two sides agreed to continue their dialogue on migration in a meeting which would be held in Morocco next spring. Tentatively the next round of talks would be held I the Moroccan Parliament.

Well over two hundred senior members of liberal political parties from all parts of the world have signed up for the 56. Congress of Liberal International (LI) to be held in Cairo from October 29 through November 1, 2009. The theme of this year’s Congress, the first ever to be held in Egypt, will be "Education in the 21st Century". This major international political event is hosted by NAL member party from Egypt, the Democratic Front Party (DFP) which has recently joined Liberal International.

All NAL member parties who are also members of Liberal International will be represented with high ranking political delegations. These are the Union Constitutionelle (UC) and the Mouvement Populaire (MP) from Morocco, the Parti Social Liberal (PSL) from Tunisia and the Al Ghad Party from Egypt. The National Liberal Party (NLP) from Lebanon has expressed intention to join the liberal world organization.

In parallel with the Congress, NAL will hold a one-day workshop on November 1 entitled "Freedom of Expression in the Arab World. The Media, the State and Political Parties". On the evening of the same day, the book "Liberalism in the Arab World.

Views and Perspectives of Political Practitioners" will be launched in a joint activity co-sponsored by Mahrousa Publishers and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty. This will be followed, the next day, by the meeting of the Executive Committee and – on the afternoon of November 2, 2009 – the annual General Assembly, the most important event of the organization. For the first time, a liberal delegation from Iraq will be present at the NAL event.

On November 3, 2009 a senior delegation of NAL leaders will travel to Brussels for meetings with European liberal officials and a two-day workshop entitled "Liberal Approaches to Sustainable Migration Policies".

For more information on the Congress of Liberal International go to: www.liberal-international.org

 
Liberalisim in the Arab World Book Cover

Senior members of the Network of Arab Liberals (NAL) gathered in Tunis on August 18-19, 2009 for a workshop entitled "Migration and Development. Liberal responses to the Challenges of Migration in the Arab World". During the two-day activity the political leaders presented and discussed current population and migration issues in the Arab world and adopted the "Tunis Declaration on Migration and Development". This is a programmatic political document which will be the basis for further discussions which a senior delegation of the Network will hold with members of European liberal parties in early November. The aim of this effort, which is co-sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF), is to reach joint Arab-European policies regarding the issues of migration and development.

"The history of mankind is based on immigration", said Wael Nawara of the Egyptian Liberal El Ghad Party. And in his opening statement, NAL president Mohammed Tamaldou reminded the participants that "US president Obama is the product of successful immigration and so is French president Nicolas Sarkozy".

PSL President Monder Thabet, NAL President Mohamed Tamaldou and FNF Regional Director Dr. Ronald Meinardus
 

In their declaration, the Arab liberals bemoan what they term "the paradox of the age of globalization, which witnesses the free movement of capital and goods, on the one hand, and a rather increasing restriction of the natural movement of individuals". NAL regrets "the deterioration of the rights of immigrants in Europe" and – at the same time – supports the "opening of legitimate channels of immigration" citing the Tunisian-French Immigration Agreement as a best practice to be followed by others also.


The delegates of the Tunis Workshop

The Tunis workshop was hosted by the NAL-member Parti Social Liberal (PSL). Egypt was represented with senior delegates from NAL-members Democratic Front Party (DFP) and the Liberal El Ghad Party. For the first time, the United Democratic Liberal Party (UDLP) of Sudan attended an activity of the network. In Tunis, UDLP-president Nour Tawir Kafi expressed the interest of her party to join the Network of Arab Liberals (NAL).

In a statement, NAL president Mohamad Tamaldou praised the outcome of the recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon and also had positive comments regarding the results of the local elections in Morocco. In both elections, member parties of the Network participated successfully. The statement of Mr. Tamaldou follows:

"It would be my pleasure to express on behalf of all the members of the Network of Arab Liberals (NAL) that we are very satisfied with the positive outcomes of the recent elections in Lebanon and in the Kingdom of Morocco, and the values these elections to establish social liberty, dignity, and democracy in the Arab world.

In Lebanon the Future Movement, with the National Liberal Party, has succeeded with their multi-ethnic and multi-cultural people to give the region a great lesson on the importance of relying on democracy and freedom of opinion, and how to exchange different ideas and represent them to the people in an atmosphere of responsibility and mutual respect.

NAL-President Mohamed Tamaldou
 

I highly appreciate the role played by our liberal brothers to support liberty in this critical moment in Lebanon's history, which will definitely promote real stability and coexistence in all the elements of it's rich diverse society.

In the Kingdom of Morocco both NAL member parties, the Mouvement Populaire and the Union Constitutionnelle, were able to maintain their status as two important parties that give insight on exercising liberal policies on the national scale, and have been highly successful in the local council elections and have been represented as highly credible entities in terms of liberal policy makers."

The three-day founding conference of the Union of Arab Liberal Youth (UALY) concluded its proceedings on the evening of April 26th having successfully launched ULAY after a series of heated debates and negotiations.

The conference, which started on the 24th of April, adopted the statutes of the Union during the first meeting of its General Assembly on the 25th of April and elected its first Executive Board on the 26th.

The newly elected Executive Board with friends from FNF and IFLRY

Ms. Daad Azzi from the Lebanese National Liberal Party will head the Union for the coming two years. She will be joined on the board by Mr. Abdelatif M'hamedi from the Moroccan Union Constitutionelle party as the Vice President, Mr. Aziz Al Darmoumy from the Moroccan Mouvement Populaire as Secretary General, Mr. Mohammad Al Ghazou from the Jordanian Free Thought Forum as Treasurer, Ms. Hayat Alami from the Palestinian Freedom Forum as Media Representative, Mr. Ahmad Nassar from the Egyptian Ghad Party as Foreign Relations Representative and Ms. Shehrazad Akacha from the Tunisian Parti Social Liberal as Public Relations Representative. The Secretariat of UALY will be hosted by the Movement Populaire in Rabat.

The historic launch was co sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation's (FNF) Regional Office in Cairo. The opening ceremony of the first General Assembly saw words of welcome from Dr. Ronald Meinardus, the Regional Director of FNF, Mr. Sayed Bassiouny of Al Ghad Party's Executive Bureau on behalf of the Network of Arab Liberals (NAL). Mr. Frederick Ferie, Vice President of IFLRY and experienced facilitator Mr. Wolf Pabst were also present during the conference to offer advice, share experiences in organization building and help facilitate the early sessions. A letter received by all the participants from the president of NAL expressed Mr. Tamaldou's confidence "that if the Arab world has something different to offer the liberal family, its difference lies in that its youth are more than its seniors and this is a truth which you are responsible for utilizing positively."

Youth participants during the first General Assembly

NAL members also showed their support to the young union. Mrs. Margaret Azer, Secretary General of the Democratic Front Party organized a dinner for the participants, generously hosted by the Party; and Mr. Wael Nawara, Executive Board member of Al Ghad Party which also hosted a dinner, attended one of the sessions and gave a word of encouragement and support to the youth.