2019 – A Year of Reflection and new Orientation
Today, we need people who think globally and are willing to shape international affairs. IFAIR makes young people a part of global politics and global politics a part of daily political life. This year, IFAIR celebrates its 10-year anniversary and we want to use this opportunity to present the organization, its organizational structure and shed light on the way we work.
IFAIR stands for Young Initiative on Foreign Affairs and International Relations, which illustrates the core of our organization: We unite young people with interest in actively shaping foreign affairs. Our motto is “Think. Learn. Act.” We learn from theory and transform these learnings into practical results – and vice versa. Under this motto, our work consists of two main pillars: Our Think Tank and our Impact Groups. In our Think Tank, young authors leave their footprints in current political debates by publishing high-level comments or analyses. IFAIR’s Impact Groups give our generation a platform to bring tangible projects to reality. The term thereby illustrates the aim of our projects: Create meaningful impact. As a project platform, IFAIR provides the network and tools necessary to address current challenges and to connect young people from different geographical regions.
To celebrate 10 years of young people becoming active in international relations, we want to travel through time and look at many large projects, interesting conferences, high-level publications and fruitful cooperations that shaped IFAIR. To begin, we look at the year 2019, which was a year of reflection and new orientation. We are thrilled that in 2019, IFAIR’s member base has been growing worldwide and, for the second year in a row, we have had more new members who were not from Germany. Additionally, IFAIR’s core team has largely grown and currently consists of all Regional Directors, our Chief Editor, our press and public relations coordinator, our IT responsible and the members of the Executive Board. Generally, each Regional Director is committed to one of the world’s geographical regions and thus the first point of contact for you if you would like to get to know IFAIR or submit an article to our Think Tank.
During 2019, our core team met twice in Berlin to discuss the developments and future plans of the association. During IFAIR’s General Meeting in September 2019, a new Executive Board was elected for the next three years. The five new board members each take care of one cross-sectional task: Anne Laible, responsible for team management and human resources; Katharina Lange, responsible for finances; Jessica Kininger, responsible for the website and social media; Florian Schöler, responsible for member management; and Dr. Steffen Murau, responsible for the coordination of the Impact Groups.
Additionally, the Impact Group Foreign Policy Talk was particularly active in 2019 and has organized three talks in Berlin with the embassies of Russia, Canada and the USA respectively. Under the framework of this Impact Group, IFAIR brings together young people with decision makers and experts of today to discuss current foreign policy issues. Among others, we were able to talk to Geoff Gartshore, Political Affairs Advisor, and Jean Ducharme, Cultural Diplomacy Advisor at the Canadian Embassy about current challenges in Canadian politics, the current state of the US-Canada relationship and the key points of bilateral relations between Canada and Germany. We had the opportunity to discuss US-Germany relations during a foreign policy breakfast at the US embassy. Furthermore, the Russian Embassy invited IFAIR members to a walking-tour through the impressive embassy building followed by an informal get-together with three young Russian diplomats who just graduated and started their first station, which enabled us to get a glimpse on ways to enter the diplomatic world in Russia.