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On August 2010 Kay Maxwell (former president of the League of Women Voters), Xandra Kayden (former board member of the League ) and Zaida Arguedas (the League’s deputy executive director) traveled to Baku and Ganja, to be part of an international conference entitled "The Role of Women in Electoral Activities." The conference was a multi-country effort led by Dr. Irada Yagubova, Director of Independent Research Center "ELS." in Baku, the League of Women Voters of the United States and the Association "European Projects." The conference was funded by a grant from the Democracy Commission Small Grants program of the U.S. Department of State and funds from the Global Democracy Program of the League of Women Voters.
ELS works increase the role of the citizen in public issues and to distribute timely information about changes in the development in Azerbaijan. Association “European Projects” is a young but ambitious organization established in 2007 to ensure the role of civil society in supporting democratic rights and the rule of law in Bulgaria.
Interest in working in Azerbaijan began in 2004 when the League hosted the "Azerbaijan Young Lawyers’ Union" in Washington, DC. That visit was followed by meetings with two other groups of Azeris in 2005 and 2007. Subsequently, the League began to host citizens from Azerbaijan with grants from the Open World Leadership Center (OWLC) and to date 29 journalists, elected officials, women leaders, election officials and many others have been hosted by the local Leagues of Baltimore County, MD, Dayton, OH, Door County, WI, Kansas City/Jackson/Clay/Platte Counties, KS, and Boulder, CO.
"The Role of Women in Electoral Activities" was timely held as municipal elections in Azerbaijan took place in November 2010. For the League, the role of women in electoral activity has been at the core of its mission and thus it is fitting for the League to talk about the importance of women in election activities.
Photos are available in Flickr.