To mark what would have been his 80th birthday, a conference organised on 27 February in honour of Lord Paddy Ashdown recognised the immense contribution he made to making the world a better place and looked ahead to the future perspectives for the Balkans region.
Organised by the Paddy Ashdown Forum in cooperation with the European Liberal Forum and with the participation of ALDE member parties and politicians, ALDE Party Vice Presidents Baroness Sal Brinton and Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP also spoke during the conference paying tribute to Lord Ashdown and discussing his immense contribution to UK politics, peace processes, and the political future of the Balkan region.
Paying personal tribute, Baroness Brinton said: “He was somebody over the years that was absolutely prepared to stand up for people whose human rights were being eroded, whose physical lives were under threat, whether it was popular or not, and for that I am pleased to say that Paddy Ashdown will be remembered for many many more years.”
Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP said: “Paddy always wanted to have ideas, and ideas coming from the younger generation, about reconciliation of the country but also putting [these] into a bigger framework on how to go forward together when it comes to NATO and pro-European perspective.”
Interventions were also made by the leader of the UK Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey, past President of Liberal International Lord Alderdice, the British Ambassador in Bosnia Herzegovina Matthew Field and the current Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turković.
The second part of the programme featured a debate on youth participation in the region with contributions from LYMEC President Antoaneta Asenova, North Macedonian MP Monika Zajkova, and moderated by Jasmina Mršo, International Officer of ALDE member Naša Stranka.
Hasib Salkic, the leader of ALDE member LDS, also spoke during the event.
Watch the event in full here or below
Photo credit: Dave Radcliffe, Liberal Democrats 2013