European Advocacy Academy

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 09:00 - Saturday, November 25, 2017 19:00

European Advocacy Academy "Effective campaigning"

The November 2017 EAA will focus on effective campaigning from a political, civil society, and media point of view. Leaders who advocate for the family and life are often not fully equipped to effectively manage campaigns on these matters. They need to acquire the knowledge and the tools needed to increase their effectiveness in order to build support, and have a real impact in the public debate and policymaking. They also need to become part of an international network that transcends country borders.

What will you learn?

After completing the EAA you will:

  • Know how to develop campaign management strategies from the political, civil society, and media point of view.
  • Know practical campaign management skills and techniques.
  • Be more aware of the deep cultural changes that our societies are undergoing today, and understand why and how these changes are occurring.
  • Have established a network that allows you to increase your political impact nationally and internationally, and have acquired direct access to experts and fellow activists all over Europe.


The European Advocacy Academy* was held in Brussels from 22nd to 25th of November and focused on effective campaigning from a political, civil society, and media point of view.
We are pleased to say that we met our objectives by training a very active group of stakeholders on effective campaigning. Lectures included topics such as Politics, Planning a Campaign, Presidential Campaigns, Civil Society Campaigning, Fundraising, and Crisis Management. The seminars enabled our participants to learn more and acquire new skills to be better campaigners. We had very practical workshops about Social Media where participants received input to use in their campaigns in Europe. Finally, we are building and strengthening a network of competent and like-minded stakeholders in Europe by connecting them and offering them further trainings designed for them.
* European Advocacy Academy (EAA) is a bi-annual, international, political training event. Its aim is to help relevant stakeholders learn and better understand the European dimensions of developments affecting the areas of freedom, family, and life. The EAA is the only programme of its kind, providing both substantive formation on critical issues and practical training to help leaders develop the skills they need to increase their influence

ECPM Dinner in the European Parliament
On Thursday, November 23rd we were welcomed by Mr. Branislav Skripek, MEP and President of the Board of European Christian Political Movement to the European Parliament. We started with a tours of the Parliament given by Mr. Auke Minnema, Political Advisor to Mr. Skripek and Mr. Paul Moynan from ECR Group. A tour was followed by a dinner with Mr. Skripek, participants, speakers and other guests. Mr. Paul Moynan gave an inspiring speech inviting us all to reflect on our work and the good cause that is behind it and was followed by a very motivating speech of Mr. Skripek who also shared his personal story and motivated us also to continue with our work in protection of freedom, family and life.

The November EAA had five speakers: Ron Nehring, Mark Campbell, Željka Markić, Andreas Thonhauser, and Ignacio Arsuaga. Below are short bios on each speaker followed by selected feedback on their lectures or presentations:
Ron Nehring
“The European Advocacy Academy is a great opportunity for conservative activists in Europe to get the skills that they need in order to be more effective. “
Ron is the Director of International Training at The Leadership Institute. He is a Republican strategist and communications expert who served as National Spokesman in the 2016 Presidential campaign of Senator Ted Cruz. Prior to stepping onto the national stage in 2016, Ron was elected the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of California, earning the support of the California Republican Party, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the National Rifle Association, the California Republican Assembly, and more than 3 million voters.
Mark Campbell
“This Academy teaches people to talk to people, to listen and to create people who will truly make change in Europe. “
Mark has a winning political career spanning over three decades. Mark’s client list is extensive and includes presidential candidates along with hundreds of federal, state, and local candidates and campaigns. Campbell has won numerous tough “down ballot” races in swing areas even when the top of the GOP ticket got crushed. Campbell has also won races in Democrat strongholds including Jersey City, Philadelphia and northern Virginia. Most recently, Dr. Campbell served as National Political Director for Ted Cruz for President.
Željka Markić
“This Academy is needed in order to train people, to help them be more effective in what they are doing and that is protecting the dignity of every person. “
Željka is the President of In the Name of the Family in Croatia. She has been involved in the promotion of family and life since her student days during the time of communism. She has been one of the key people behind the successful 2013 marriage referendum in Croatia, which defined marriage as an exclusive union of one man and one woman. Željka was also one of the organisers of the first March for Life in Croatia in 2016, which gathered more than 15,000 people. She is also one of the initiators of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), “Mum, Dad, and Kids”.
Andreas Thonhauser
“We need professional, also engaged and motivated young people in public life. It is very important to have people who want to change the future of Europe.“
Andreas serves as Director of Communications for ADF International, where he is responsible for building ADF International’s media presence throughout Europe. He acts as communications liaison with key international allied lawyers and allied organizations, as well as implements and manages all aspects of ADF International’s public relations outreach. Thonhauser earned an MBA from the WU Executive Academy in Vienna and an M.A. in German Philology/ Anglistics and Americanistics from the University of Vienna. Prior to joining ADF International in 2015, Thonhauser worked for Die Presse, one of the largest Austrian daily newspapers focused on politics and economics.
Ignacio Arsuaga
Ignacio is the President of the CitizenGO Foundation, an international organisation working on promoting life, family and liberty, with 3.5 million members worldwide. He is also the founder and current President of HazteOir, a Spanish prolife and pro-family organization. He is a lawyer and a member of the Madrid Bar Association. He has been a professor of New Technologies and Citizen Participation in the Master’s in Political Action programme at the University Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid.
“We need young people and young professionals involved in this cultural battle. They learn great tools in this Academy.“

We had a total of 28 participants attending the EAA in November. Most of the participants attended our conference for the first time (with the exception of 2 persons) and came from 17 different countries from across Europe. Our group of participants included: NGO leaders, politicians, pro-life activists, and public speakers. They are all very active in the public debate in their countries running different NGOs or projects on local or national levels. All of them were well prepared and able to actively participate in the debates and discussions, raise important questions, and create room for sharing experiences.
“I have learned a lot. The most important message from these days is that we can win, we are able to win if we believe that it is possible!” Blazej, Slovakia
“The best part of the European Advocacy Academy is undoubtedly being with people from 17 different European countries that work for the same cause and the same values. You can connect, share ideas and work together!” Norberto, Spain
“I got a lot of information and knowledge to enter into public sphere in my country, in Serbia, being more confident. That is something that we lack; how to organize a campaign and how to be effective.” Vesna, Serbia
“This Academy has a great impact because now I have the opportunity to connect with many people from different countries and learn about issues that they face in their own countries and also understand that what is happening in my country it is not something particular but it is happening elsewhere.” Ana Maria, Romania

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