GALE calls for candidates for the GALE Association Committee

27 December 2016 - In February, GALE will hold elections for the first GALE Association Committee. The Committee will be a representation of the members and will advise about the global strategy of GALE in the following five years. Now, the call for candidates has opened. Members are asked to make their interest to be a candidate know to and to submit a short campaign text to be published on the GALE website.

Influence on global strategy

It will be the first time GALE has elections for a representation of the membership. Peter Dankmeijer, GALE Foundation director says: "These elections are an opportunity to strengthen the GALE organization. There has been an International Advisory Committee which helped create GALE and its mission and later there have been formal Foundation boards to control the sustainability of the Foundation. But until now, the membership itself has been mostly active on the local level. It was not active in strategic decisions on the global level. This new Committee will make this possible. This is especially important because GALE will develop a new strategic plan in 2017."

GALE Foundation and GALE Association

In 2006, GALE started as a project of Empowerment Lifestyle Services, a private company of Peter Dankmeijer. The needs assessment Dankmeijer did before creating GALE showed that the potential members were interested in doing ground work on LGBTI issues and education, and not lose too much time on a time-consuming representative system. To avoid the impression that GALE might be a private venture, the GALE projects were made independent in 2010 by creating a separate legal body, the GALE Foundation. Since then, GALE consists of a website membership - kind of an informal "association", and a GALE Foundation which maintains the website and acquires and implements projects. Members are involved through newsletters, mailing lists and if possible in projects.
But since 2011 (the banking crisis), it became very difficult to acquire budget for global projects. It became clear the membership remained relatively passive unless the Foundation got funding for local projects they could take part in. This posed the question how the GALE Foundation and the GALE (informal) association could be better connected. Also, the director will remain in function for about another 5-7 years and is already looking for ways to give GALE sustainability after he retreats. It may be that the new GALE Association Committee decides to become a full legal entity.

Revitalization of the GALE strategy

The strategy to revitalize GALE on the global and local level consists of 3 priorities:

  1. Monitoring the right to education per country and involving LGBT activists, the education sector and government officials in this
  2. Offering strategic workshops and a strategic guide to support local allies in making more impact by cooperation and by raising the quality of their interventions
  3. Strengthening the involvement of local GALE members with the global organization by reviving a worldwide advisory committee

In order to avoid the cumbersome and costly procedure of establishing a formal global board and to make sure that the foundation financial situation would remain transparent, controllable and independent of local financial interests, the GALE Foundation Board recommended to distinguish between the current formal GALE Foundation and a new informal GALE Association Committee.

The role of the GALE Association Committee

The GALE Association Committee will be set up to:

  1. strengthen the GALE platform
  2. to increase the participation of GALE members in the global strategy
  3. to advise on the strategy of the GALE Foundation.

The GALE Foundation maintains the GALE website, develops projects and asks the GALE Association Committee advice on its strategy.
One of the first decisions of the GALE Association Committee is whether it wants to remain an informal advisory body or an independent international association (and carry its own costs for registration). Depending on this decision, the GALE Foundation can agree to hand over the maintenance of the website and part of the formal international contacts.
The director has made a short outline of the role of the committee and the format of the elections, but the new Committee can of course adopt its own constitution. The Committee will be asked to comment on the GALE working plan 2017 and the new GALE Strategic Plan 2018-2022, which will be developed in the second half of 2017.

Currently, there is no budget for the GALE Association Committee. This means we cannot organize an international committee meeting and have to communicate through Skype and email.

Read here more about the decision to set up a GALE Association Committee and the election planning.