BRIDGE Partner meeting

20 June 2024


Partners in-person series of meetings in chilly (and beautiful) Canberra, Australia.

BRIDGE Partner representatives met in chilly Canberra in the week commencing 17 June 2024 for a series of in-person meetings and events across the week. Partners expressed their sincere thanks to the AEC for hosting the in-person events and to their organisations for supporting their attendance to participate in the stimulating and thought-provoking opportunities afforded by the week of experiences. 

In attendance were Aleida Ferreyra, UNDP Global Lead, Democratic Institutions and Processes in a Digital Era, Governance Team, Bureau of Policy and Programme Support (BPPS), Hassan Sesay, UNEAD / DPPA Senior Electoral/Political Affairs Officer, Team Leader for Strategic Partnerships, Rushdi Nackerdien, IFES Senior Global Advisor for Training and Capacity Building, Therese Pearce Laanela, International IDEA Head of Programme, Electoral Processes, and Peita Mamo, Australian Electoral Commission, A/Director National Training Unit. The week-long event was ably supported by members of the BRIDGE Secretariat for which the Partner representatives were very grateful.

Tom Rogers, the Australian Electoral Commissioner, hosted a morning tea to welcome the international travellers to Canberra, where the Partner representatives enjoyed networking with senior members of the AEC executive team.

Jeff Pope, the Australian Deputy Electoral Commissioner and BRIDGE champion, were present on occasions throughout the week either in-person or online. A particular focus of the meetings was to develop the BRIDGE Strategic Plan 2025 – 2030 which considers the high-level directions for the future of BRIDGE including ambitious plans and responses to emerging risks and challenges. Significant progress was made towards finalising the Plan and its accompanying Implementation Plan which will be shared with the BRIDGE community when complete.

The week was indeed fruitful and productive. The BRIDGE meetings and discussions focussed particularly on:

  • The future strategic direction of BRIDGE
  • Aspirations and ambitions for BRIDGE into the future
  • Progress towards ensuring the BRIDGE curriculum is contemporary and fit for purpose
  • Recognising the importance and significance of the work of the BRIDGE Secretariat to both the BRIDGE Partnership and the BRIDGE Community of Practice (CoP)
  • Acknowledging the CoP as the core of BRIDGE and continuing to support and define the different facilitator roles and responsibilities, and
  • Improving engagement and communication with the BRIDGE facilitator CoP through virtual events and regular communications via the BRIDGE Portal and website. 

As well as the BRIDGE focused nature of most of the meetings throughout the week, BRIDGE colleagues especially valued the mixture of experiences including AEC presentations providing insights into initiatives such as the Command Centre, the Enhancing Polling Official Capability and Capacity (EPOCC) program and the Defending Democracy Unit (DDU), visits to the National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC) and the AEC’s ‘Writs to Referendums’ display in the Museum of Australian Democracy and observing face to face election operation training at an Out-posted centre. Experiences of the work of an electoral management body such as the AEC, are invaluable to our BRIDGE representative colleagues in their broader electoral work, as well as their focus on the ongoing use of BRIDGE in global environments. 

The ‘reflections’ exercise conducted at the conclusion of the week helped to capture forward-thinking ideas for consideration into the future of BRIDGE as a premier global product. The responses from the representatives included multiple references to the enhancement of the value, commitment, and importance of the BRIDGE Partnership to all, solidifying obligations to continue to grow the shared responsibilities and actions of all to the benefit of the facilitator CoP and the broader electoral family.

A productive and engaging week was enjoyed by all who attended. BRIDGE is indeed enhanced by the contributions, commitment, expertise, and dedication of the representative members of the BRIDGE Partnership!

Face to face workshop
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