Open and legitimate elections are the indispensable foundation for sustainable development and effective democracy. Actions supporting the right to participate in genuine elections can play a major role in sustaining peace, security and conflict prevention. Support takes the form of electoral assistance projects and election observation missions. This requires skilled and trained observers.
International election observation plays an important role in international relations since almost thirty years. The Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation adopted by the UN in 2005 is one of the first attempts of the international community to set standard rules which are recognised at international level. The European Union is strongly committed to contribute to all democratic processes around the world through various activities, including electoral observation. The adoption of EU guidelines on preconditions for EU observation missions and a code of conduct for EU electoral observers represent an important step towards enhanced co-ordination and serve as a basis for all electoral observers. The 2005 Declaration and the Code of Conduct set a common framework, methodology, standards and best practices valid for all observers both at national (domestic) and international level.
gain a comprehensive overview on the history of electoral observation
acquire thorough knowledge of international legal standards, observation methodology, missions functioning (short term observation) and media monitoring
develop theoretical and practical skills which will be an asset in case of further applications as international observers
apply as qualified short term observer (STO) in any election observation missions
The course addresses all participants who are interested in deepening their knowledge on the functioning of an electoral observation mission from a multi-disciplinary approach. It is specifically aimed at training civilian staff in election observation missions at the start of their career (i.e. short term observers). Selected applicants will become aware of the role, tasks and status of international observers, and will be given a theoretical and practical training on election observation and election observation missions functioning. The course also provides thorough knowledge of international legal standards, observation methodology and missions functioning that might be of interest to political experts, analysts, journalists, consultants and researchers.
Structure and content
The aim of the course is to deepen theoretical and practical expertise on international election observation by providing participants with knowledge and practical skills that are applicable to the daily functioning of election observation missions, an asset in case of further applications as international observers. Knowledge of international standards, methodology and best practices will also be essential for those interested in developing and training a network of domestic observers.
Course dates: 15 – 20 November 2021, including one live session each day
The course covers the following core themes:
International electoral observation: an introduction
Electoral observation history and international legal standards
Short term observers: code of conduct, observing and reporting tools
The media in electoral observation missions
Short term observers: living in the field
Meet the sending authorities
Methodology and coordination
The course is an instructor-led training programme coordinated and tutored by Demetrio Lazagna, whose expertise will guide you throughout the various modules.
Demetrio Lazagna’s expertise ensures academic quality and consistency of instruction throughout the course. In his role he helps identifying and responding to participants’ needs while managing the interventions of lecturers and experts and supporting them throughout the design and development of their work.
During this digital version of the course he will be present and active in all live sessions and at your disposal during the 'ask-the-expert' sessions for enriching and complementing the discussion. He will also act as moderator during the roundtable session with representatives from sending authorities on Saturday 20 November 2021.
The course will be delivered through a combination of:
Online participation via Zoom live sessions, where you will hear from experts and debate with them the practical issues and challenges of their work
Live working groups via Zoom Breakout rooms, where you will be asked to step in the shoes of a true electoral observer and to act as if deployed in the field
Real time feedback provided by the trainers during and after group work
Individual reading and study time& through pre-recorded video lectures, powerpoint presentations, reading materials and quizzes
Daily meetings with trainers during a live session, where you will receive targeted inputs on their specific field of expertise
A Round table discussion with representatives from sending authorities who will discuss recruitment procedures and share their tips and tricks
Ask-the-expert sessions, where remaining questions can be posed to the lecturer of the day through a dedicated discussion forum
Participants are expected to engage in approximately 25-30 hours of active learning through individual study and readings, quizzes, participation in live online sessions, debates and group work on assigned case studies.
In order to ensure all participants the necessary time to study, revise and complete all quizzes, the online course will open one week ahead of the first live session and will close one week after the last live session, for a total of 3 weeks (8 – 27 November 2021).
The course includes 6 live sessions:
Monday 15 November from 13:00 to 14:30 CET
Tuesday 16 November from 13:00 to 15:00 CET
Wednesday 17 November from 12:00 to 15:00 CET
Thursday 18 November from 13:00 to 15:00 CET
Friday 19 November from 13:00 to 15:00 CET
Saturday 20 November from 13:00 to 15:00 CET (round table)
Participation in the live sessions is highly recommended as a unique opportunity to engage directly with experts and peers. For those who cannot attend, however, all live sessions (15 – 20 November 2021) will be recorded and made available for the entire duration of the course and until 27 November 2021.