Representing Youth is working as a support platform for the media initative of Young Journalists at WYC 2010. We have picked this great review and pertinent observations of one of the first workshop sessions, which was published in the official WYC daily newpaper “The Congress Times”. To follow the congress online, please visit virtualwyc.net
Lobbying 101: An Afternoon with Felix Dodds*
by Kartik Das (Singapore) and Cecile Guezennec (France)
As nearly half the Congress attempts to get into the first workshop on UN Employment, a smaller group enters a room asking “Is this How to Lobby at International Events?”, to which Felix Dodds of Stakeholder Forum casually replies “I hope so”
Having folded up his sleeves to try to avoid perspiring further, he emphasizes that: “The best successes are in the coffee bar.”
Dodds reminds us that everyone is more likely to listen to what you have to say when they’re relaxed and away from their fomal settings. So, for the youth who just don’t seem to be able to get some high ranking civil servant to listen to your idea, buy them a cup of coffee and establish a personal relationship.
You’d be surprised how demeanours can change when you both realize that you support the same football team. Taking the effort to get to know someone makes the difference, but when you’re following him into the toilet, you know you’ve gone too far!
People might have been falling asleep elswhere but Dodds’ humorous anecdotes of a portly formidale woman forcing out an Egyptian Minister from the toilet with a large stick -to demand that her views were heard-, to how sometimes, as unfortunate as it may be that some people just won’t like you because you look funny, were stories that had everyone enjoying the session.
If you had wandered in halfway through you might have been shocked when he went on about BINGOs, BONGOs, MONGOs and GONGOs but through the funny sounding acronyms everyone came to really understand the complexities of the NGO system without being overloaded with information.
For the ideas and inspiration, we’ve got to look within ourselves to find ways to make waves around the world but what Dodds has done today basically tells us the few things that could help translate our concepts into reality.
He essentially reminded us that if we take ourselves and our aims seriously, the people in power will have little choice but to listen.
More than 1000 have gathered in Istanbul and in the words of Kofi Annan “In today’s world, we all depend on each other”- but the challenge remains, are you ready to engage the billions of others who aren’t here?
submitted by Kartik Das
*Felix Dodds is an author, futurist and activist. He has been instrumental in developing new modes of stakeholder engagement with the United Nations, particularly within the field of sustainable development. Mr. Dodds is the Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future. – see more on Wikipedia