The International School of Electoral Experts, hosted by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), recently held a prestigious event that brought together youth leaders from various African countries. Abigail Larteley Otoo, a talented Ghanaian youth working as a Youth Electoral Officer under HIRED Consult, was one of the standout participants who took part in the program.
It was organized by the International Youth Centre of the Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia together with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and took place on November 27-29, 2023.
The event had over 60 participants from CIS Countries, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa aimed to educate and empower young African leaders in the field of electoral expertise. Delegates from Africa included Congo, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Morocco, and Kenya. This diverse nature of delegates created a vibrant environment for learning and collaboration.
Participants had the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of electoral processes, including voter registration, campaigning, polling, and the role of technology in elections. The practical nature of the program allowed the participants to gain hands-on experience, enhancing their understanding of the intricacies involved in organizing free and fair elections.
The primary objective of the school is to foster international cooperation and exchange of ideas among electoral experts from different countries. By bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds, the school aims to create a vibrant learning environment where participants can share their experiences and learn from one another. The Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Olga Petrova, praised the current participants for successfully passing this selection process, highlighting their exceptional abilities and leadership in the field of electoral observation.
In her opening speech, Olga stated, “Knowledge is one of the most important resources. And this school will give you the opportunity to get it from world-renowned experts and become even better in your field. I am sure that you will receive a large amount of knowledge that will be useful in further work, building your development trajectory and life. We are always happy to cooperate, because it enriches everyone,”
One of the highlights of the program was the presence of notable high-level experts and heads of institutions who graced the sessions. Stanislav Surovtsev, the Vice-Rector for Youth Policy, Social Work, and International Relations of the MGIMO Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, gave a warm welcome to the participants. His expertise and leadership in the field of youth policy were invaluable in setting the tone for the event.
Another prominent figure who addressed the participants was Areg Aghasaryan, the First Deputy Director of the Patrice Lumumba RUDN International Youth Center. Aghasaryan’s vast experience and knowledge in international youth affairs provided valuable insights into the global context of electoral expertise.
Ilya Chechelnitsky, the First Deputy Head of the Working staff of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, also delivered welcoming words to the participants. Chechelnitsky’s expertise in human rights added an important dimension to the discussions, emphasizing the crucial role that electoral processes play in upholding democratic principles.
The School of Experts provided a unique platform for young leaders to exchange ideas, share best practices, and develop their skills in electoral expertise. Abigail Otoo, raising the flag of Ghana higher took more spotlights among the participants and had interesting interviews with the media. In her submission, she expressed her profound gratitude for the opportunity and stressed, “The connections made during the event will serve as a valuable network of support for future collaborations and initiatives.”
According to the Founder and CEO of HIRED Consult Ghana, John Aggrey, “This initiative serves as a testament to the importance of international cooperation in strengthening democratic institutions and empowering the next generation of leaders. It also demonstrates that we need to do more to equip young leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote transparent, inclusive, and fair electoral processes. With the continued efforts of organizations like MGIMO, the future of democracy and effective electoral systems in Africa looks promising.”
He also emphasized the importance of inclusivity and gender equality in electoral processes, advocating for discussions and solutions to the challenges faced by women and young people in politics and devising strategies to empower and support their participation. This focus on inclusivity reflects the commitment of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and its partners to promoting democratic values and fostering equal representation in decision-making processes.
The impact of the Electoral training extended beyond the duration of the program itself. Participants left with a newfound determination to make a difference in their respective countries, armed with the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to the improvement of electoral processes. The event was a resounding success.
Source : John Aggrey