Campaign seminar for young politicians in Serbia

March 4th, 2013   Education | News | Serbia | The Balkans

”Whether in Kenya or in Serbia, political campaigning is all about the same things” said Tomislav Damnjanović, campaign manager of G17 Plus  – the party that Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation works with in Serbia – in his opening speech. G17 Plus, which is represented in the coalition government, had selected around twenty young representatives from central and southern Serbia to travel to Belgrade for a three-day (March 1-3) conference arranged by the Foundation. All participants were active on the local level and most of them had already been involved earlier in campaigns in their hometowns.

Tomislav Damnjanović, campaign manager at G17 Plus meets with participants.

Tomislav Damnjanović, campaign manager at G17 Plus meets with participants.

At the moment, G17 Plus is busy with a major internal reorganization where they are going to change name to United Regions of Serbia, among other things. Policies are focusing on decentralization and increased autonomy to regions where gaps are big between the poorer southern areas and the wealthier Belgrade region. The local perspective was relevant throughout seminars.

From Sweden, Peter Dannered, campaign manager at the Moderate Party in Stockholm City and Council and Sebastian Tham, press secretary in Stockholm County Council attended as speakers. Peter Dannered talked about cornerstones in political campaign strategy, how to formulate a strong message based on a real societal problem, and what to consider when running a local election campaign. Sebastian Tham brought up some real examples from campaigns in Swedish elections, switching over to how to communicate with voters through social media. Finally he gave some advise when meeting with journalists; what to say and what to avoid.

Young politicians from southern and central Serbia.

Young politicians from southern and central Serbia.

As practical exercise, participants were asked to create their own mini campaigns where they would choose sender, target group, message and channel. The young politicians said that they appreciated the interactive character of the sessions and that they had received a lot of inspiration from Swedish examples to bring back home and use for future campaigns. Reminding what Tomislav Damnjanović said in is introductory speech: Political campaigning is the same everywhere…

Peter Dannered och Sebastian Tham talade om kampanj.

Peter Dannered and Sebastian Tham, campaign experts.

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