Press Release Bologna Summit – London 2015

Press Release BOLOGNA SUMMIT – LONDON 2015

On July 18, the Bologna Summit 2015 kicked off with its first regional event in London- UK, in an effort to increase accessibility for all Eritreans and broaden engagement.

The immediate three goals of the Bologna Forum are to
1) Empower pro-democratic forces inside Eritrea
2) To bring youth and women into the forefront to lead
3) To mobilise and engage the silent majority

The two-day event mobilised one hundred men, women, and youth from various backgrounds across the political spectrum who came together to debate issues around the application and importance of non-violent struggle and the potential of pro-democratic change agents inside Eritrea. During day two, an in-depth session took place in regards to the regime’s security system and the state of the PFDJ.

“Bologna is an Eritrean opposition event that respects democratic values, is transparent, and participatory” – one of the organizers told the audience. Indeed, the event created a platform for various political standpoints, and the organisers called for recommendations to be made by the public how the effort can be strengthened in future.

Recommendations made included the timing of the conference – not to interfere with Eid or any other important event -, to make official invitations in order to increase participation and to create a strong civic organisation that could serve as a watchdog towards political parties. Many expressed their gratitude and support towards the Bologna Forum effort, which again managed to bring many organisations, their leaders, and individuals together under one roof and attracted considerable participation by young women.

During the workshop, endorsing organisations discussed the way forward and decided on a couple of action steps to strengthen the forum and increase its impact.

The Bologna Forum, which continues in Oakland during August and then meets again in Bologna, Italy in October is an independent effort to mobilise Eritreans inside and outside of Eritrea against dictatorship and to help install democratic values among Eritrean people as part of a long-term vision. It continues to call upon everyone to actively participate.

Bologna Forum, London – July 21, 2015

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