Friday, October 17, 2008
2nd Sweden-Asia Forum
The 2nd Sweden-Asia Forum gathered representatives of progressive parties and solidarity movements that have been working on representing marginalized constituencies and are active in programmatic party-building efforts.
This year's conference took place in Manila, Philippines from 9 to 11 October 2008 and brought together 31 participants from 12 political parties and movements representing 11 countries. The following countries were represented: Burma, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Aceh, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sweden.
The conference is organized every year by the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP), the Olof Palme International Center and AKBAYAN Citizens' Action Party, for representatives of progressive organizations in Asia to build networks and contribute to the sharing of knowledge about the development in the respective countries and in the region as a whole. The first Sweden-Asia Forum was held in Bangkok, Thailand last August10-13, 2007.
Ann Linde, International Secretary of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) in her brief presentation on "Social Democracy: a Global perspective", elucidated the social democracy's core values of Freedom, Equality and Solidarity, which are mutually dependent and mutually supporting.
After the country presentations, which covered the current political and institutional context and what the concerned parties were doing to address this situation, the delegates were actively engaged in the following panel discussions: Social Democracy: Is it Viable in Asia?, Religion and Democratization, Social Movements and Populism and Nuts and Bolts of Party-Building.
Tian Chua of the People's Justice Party-Malaysia; Ann Linde and Olle Thorell of the Social Democratic Party-Sweden; Anna Ardin and Abdulkader Habib of the Christian Social Democrats-Sweden; and Ronald Llamas, Joel Rocamora and Arlene Santos of Akbayan Citizens' Action Party-Philippines acted as lead speakers and discussants of the two-day conference.
The 2nd Sweden-Asia Forum culminated with delegates from participating political parties and movements expressing their desire to continue to learn from one another's struggles (especially in building a strong political party) and to deepen democracy in the respective countries.