Attending this year’s CALD 20th Anniversary events in Manila, Philippines on 8-11 November 2013 are prominent European Liberals Hans van Baalen, President of Liberal International (LI), Sir Graham Watson, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party, Niccolo Rinaldi, ALDE Group Vice President and Maria Leissner, Secretary General of Community of Democracies (CD). Mr. van Baalen, Sir Watson and Mr. Rinaldi are regular attendees of CALD events, while CALD first met Ms. Leissner in this year’s CD meeting in Mongolia.
Mr. van Baalen was elected as LI President in the 56th LI Congress in Cairo, Egypt. His involvement with LI began in 1988 when he became a Member and subsequently Chairman of the Dutch Group of Liberal International. From 1993 until 1998, he was International Secretary on the National Executive Committee of VVD and was VVD National Campaign Manager for the 1998 and the 2003 general elections. In 2009 he was elected in the European Parliament.
On the other hand, Sir Graham Watson was the first British Liberal Democrat ever to be elected to the European Parliament. He also served as Leader of the European Parliament’s Liberal Democrat group, ALDE, from 2002-2009. Since 2009 he has been a member of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs Committee and Chairman of Parliament’s delegation for relations with India. In November 2010 Graham was elected Vice-President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
Niccolo Rinaldi is the Vice Chair of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Bureau and is a MEP for Italia dei Valori – Lista Di Pietro. He is also member of the International Trade Committee and substitute of the Human Rights and Development Committee.
Finally, Ms. Leissner was elected as the CD Secretary General in April, 2012. Prior to that, she was Sweden’s Ambassador at large for Democracy, and led the Working Group on Governance that proposed the recent reforms of the CD. Ms. Leissner was Member of Parliament in Sweden from 1985 – 1991, after having led the Swedish Liberal Youth organisation both as Secretary General and as President. In 1995, she was elected leader of the Liberal Party, being the first woman leader of her party. She joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000 and was Ambassador to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Costa Rica in 2000 – 04.
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