Message for 2017 by the E.MAlumni President

Dear fellow alumnae and alumni,

This past year has not been the most accommodating for making adherence to human rights principles a reality and there seem to be (many) further challenges on the horizon.

We have seen hundreds of thousands of people seeking safe haven, with many more remaining in their conflict shaken regions of origin. We have witnessed increasing funding problems for – and restrictions of – civil society organisations. The political developments in the US presidential elections and Brexit alarmingly point towards a worrying shift in public opinion towards right-wing and populist movements; whose actors are vocal, seemingly very able to bring their ‘message’ across and to successfully communicate ideas which are so very far removed from the values underpinning human rights, rule of law and democracy. It is clear that these right-wing and populist interest groups are well-organised in conveying their message, protective of their space in society, and successful in helping each other into positions of influence whenever an opportunity arises. In contrast, there seems to be, on some level, an expectation or belief among opponents of such messages that our values, considered ‘right and virtuous’ will prevail. Developments such as the Trump election however demonstrate that it is, unfortunately, not always about the values or message per se but very fundamentally about the hows and whos.

I believe it is paramount that we unite in our efforts and stand as one, as unfortunately our values do not simply speak for themselves. Our network potential of over 2,000 strong human rights professionals in the E.MAlumni community and over 3,000 in the entire GCA is an invaluable resource. It’s incredible diversity gives us immense possibilities, and a great platform to undertake action together. The E.MAlumni Association will continue to help foster strategic bonds among alumni human rights professionals; however our Association is only as strong as its individual members and the bonds between us all. We therefore encourage you to join us in taking initiative to mutually support each other in our professional development, alerting the community of opportunities, putting in place and advertising projects and promoting your activities within the network. Being a network of human rights professionals, I believe that Networking for Human Rights is indeed the bedrock purpose of the Association.

We look forward to unleashing our joint potential next year, making use of what lies at our feet to help combat populist tendencies standing at odds with the very core of human rights and the values we stand for.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Successful New Year,

Tessa

President of the E.MAlumni Board