From June 30 to July 3, 2022, Liberal International held its 75th anniversary congress in Sofia, Bulgaria. Joel Ruet, President, The Bridge Tank, attended the congress, our think tank having been elected an observer member of Liberal International in 2021.
As President of Liberal International, our Board Member Hakima el Haité declared open this year’s congress. In her address to the delegates, Hakima el Haité pointed to the current times of challenges for democracy and the liberal order, freedom and equality. She however stressed the importance of LI’s efforts, with leaders and experts from all over the world fighting against the destruction of democracy, responding to the food crisis triggered by Russia’s war and working to protect the environment.
Over the following days, Russia’s attack on Ukraine was an ever-present issue, with Olga Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration joining the Congress remotely to address Russia’s manipulation and blackmail of the food crisis to put an end to the war in its own terms.
Another highlight of this year’s congress was a session on facts-based understanding of the human rights situation in Afghanistan with the participation of Dr Sima Samar, former Minister of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan and 2022 recipient of Liberal International’ Prize For Freedom.
Joel Ruet also attended a session discussing security issues in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Gilbert Noel Ouédraogo, President, Africa Liberal Network highlighting that without securing peace in Africa and organising the continent through liberal principles in regional cooperation, migration crises would continue to be a challenge in the years to come.
As a non-partisan think tank and an observer member of LI, The Bridge Tank does not participate in the vote of resolutions. Our mission is to engage with political leaders to “bridge out” consensus where possible.