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Marek Kapusta

Founder
Global ReLeaf Foundation and Rock the Vote
Slovakia
Marek Kapusta
Founder
Global ReLeaf Foundation
and Rock the Vote
Slovakia
>> see profile
1. What does it mean to you to have been selected as a "Global Leader for Tomorrow"?

This nomination came to me as very nice surprise, commitment, big opportunity, and even bigger challenge. I am an activist coming from a small NGO based in even smaller country - that is why the nomination came to me as a surprise. My work is focused on countries where transition from communism to market economy, prosperity, freedom and democracy has been particularly slow and often frustrating process - the nomination is therefore great motivation and commitment for me

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The GLT community and its global initiatives is the opportunity for me to exchange innovative ideas, find common interests and work together with the GLT community, and in the spirit of shared values develop new cross border - cross regional initiatives, aiming to make the world better, safer, democratic and prosperous place for everyone

2. You have been selected by the World Economic Forum for what you have already done in your life, "holding positions of considerable power, influence and responsability". What are the 3-5 things you are most proud of?

It is difficult for me to speak about things I am proud of - as none of the projects that cross my mind I consider to be completely finished yet. First of them is a voter mobilization campaign I was coordinating in 1998 in Slovakia. While at that time all the prospects for the future of Slovakia looked dim, and there were only few people that believe this campaign can be a success, our project helped to increase participation of first time voters from 20% to 80%. Interestingly, the success of the campaign was in adopting "American" concept of "Rock the Vote" to Slovak conditions, our persistent work, consistent, honest and non-partisan message to our voters. Slovak youth, in return, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new, democratically oriented, reform - minded government, which put Slovakia back to the integration track to the NATO and the EU

Secondly - I am proud me and my colleagues succeeded in sharing our excitement from the campaign organization and its results with our partners from Balkans - mainly from Croatia and Serbia - which when inspired by our success, were able to fight effectively regimes led by war criminals, and contributed vastly to the victory of democratic forces in both countries.

I am proud to see young generation across the Easter Europe to slowly become major political, social and economic force. I am also proud we succeeded in involving several other NGOs from Slovakia and Eastern Europe in the struggle for democracy in Balkans - and documented well that even small county like Slovakia can play constructive role in regional crisis such was in the Balkans

3. The World Economic Forum is "committed to improving improve the state of the world". You will participate in shaping tomorrow's world. What impact would you like to have?

My short term goal is to organize again successful voter mobilization and education effort, which will hopefully lead to high voter turnout and will make the way of Slovakia to NATO and to the EU irreversible

Secondly, I would like to establish a new international NGO, which will provide assistance to democrats in closed societies, and support to reformers in countries where transition process is endangered

I am committed to continue and expand work of my organization in strengthening roots of civil society in Balkans. The process of reconstruction of Balkans will be extremely difficult project for the growing European community - perhaps this is one of added values countries like Slovakia can bring to the EU and NATO

I would also like to contribute to establishing of a world - wide forum of young democratic activists, which will work together across continents helping to spreading democracy, and prosperity across the Globe

4. The World Economic Forum is also a forum to discuss the present state of the world economy. What is the analysis you would give?

The times of crises and difficulties is always a major opportunity for finding new, more effective ways to deal with problems or for discovering new opportunities. I believe we all can learn something from the current downturn, and this crisis will lead to us to new ways and innovative ideas, to more effectivity, productivity and security

In the spirit of shared values, the dialogue between East and West, North and South, Islam and other confessions has to continue and expand - that`s why international fora like the World Economic Forum are so important for all of us


Marek Kapusta
Founder
Global ReLeaf Foundation
AND Rock the Vote
Slovakia

Nationality: Slovakia

Professional Profile: The mobilization of Slovakia's youth was a campaign that deserves study by democracy activists in neighboring countries, especially those run by autocrats such as Mr. Milosevic or Franjo Tudjman of Croatia, who stage-manage their own elections. A year before Slovakia's vote, an American Peace Corps volunteer working in the Slovak affiliate of the American Foundation for a Civil Society thought about Rock the Vote, an American effort to encourage young people to vote. Could it work in Slovakia?

The foundation hired 23-year-old Marek Kapusta, who had managed a team of young Slovak election observers in Bosnia, to direct what became "Rock volieb '98" -- Rock the Vote '98. The youth campaign was part of an ambitious, mainly nonpartisan effort by Slovakia's nongovernmental groups, which have high credibility, to turn out voters, track the government-controlled media and monitor voting. "We had to be positive and light," Mr. Kapusta told me. "And we had to attract media, because we couldn't pay for it." Rock volieb staged a 16-city concert tour, during which young volunteers handed out T-shirts and voter information

Mr. Kapusta is now talking to his potential counterparts in Croatia and Serbia

Personal Profile: Slovak political activist

Dieser Artikel ist erschienen am 01.02.2002