Message from Lishia Erza, 2011

Dear UNA Edinburgh Democracy, Governance, and Humanities enthusiasts,

First of all let me say Hello and offer a long overdue introduction. I am the new co-opted group chair for this working group and am writing to you for suggestions and comments.

Briefly introducing myself, I am a PhD candidate from Queen Margaret University for my research on how decentralised governance affect social exclusion processes. I’ve been involved with the UN since my teenage years in Indonesia, amidst conflicts and political turmoil in late 1990s. Since then I have worked mostly with UNDP Indonesia in areas of sustainable capacity development for parliamentarians and executive government institutions.

Recently I am involved with European Commission activities, particularly in areas of technology and innovation, health management education, as well as gender fluidity in development issues. I’d be happy to discuss any of these things in length with you, but perhaps not on this occasion.

I would like to update you on some our working group’s upcoming activities and taking things forward.

Democracy Day

My predecessor, Prof Dabir Tehrani has kindly arranged for Professor Jan Aart Scholte to speak at UNA

Edinburgh’s Commemoration of ‘The International Day of Democracy’ on 15 September 2011 — to which everyone is invited.

I am currently arranging for the venue to be confirmed and will be sending the invitation and RSVP requests to you once the venue is confirmed. In the mean time, information about the event and Prof Jan Scholte’s resume can be found here:

As UNA Edinburgh has been a vibrantly active unit, some interests have risen from our international partners to attend the event. To advance our collaboration with other UNA branches and reach out to a wider audience, I plan to live-broadcast the event on the internet. It is likely to be recorded as well and to be made available on our UNA Edinburgh Website.

I’d like to hear your comments on this. Whether you think broadcasting on the internet is a good idea, or if you have concerns, or questions, what have you.

Next Steps/Activities

UNA is a very important entity in supporting the values and work of the UN. One of my plans for this working group is to increase engagement with people who have not joined UNA, particularly UNA Edinburgh.

1) Engaging with Non-Members

I’m thinking about inviting research students from Edinburgh Universities (University of Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University, Napier, Heriot Watt, etc) to showcase ad share their work/experience with UNA Edinburgh members – especially works that fall under Democracy, Governance, Humanities, and the UN.

I see this as a wonderful opportunity for us to learn from them, to enrich our knowledge and broaden our horizon when critically reflecting on current issues related to works of UN and UNA. It is also an opportunity to introduce UNA Edinburgh to more people in our community, in hopes that they will join as members.

Again, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

2) Your Opinion

The internet has made flow of information strikingly fast. A long list of updates fall under the themes: democracy, governance, and humanities on a daily basis. As enthusiasts and people who are concerned with this issue, sometimes we might have missed relevant information or even have our thoughts about some of the things we hear/read/see.

I would like to offer you some space to share your thoughts or if you’ve found anything interesting you would like to share with other members. UNA Edinburgh now has a WordPress-based website which has great potential to enable a more vibrant communication among members.

Perhaps I could invite you to write short articles or blog posts or even share photographs and YouTube links you find interesting.

For this I would also like to hear your thoughts.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss some of the things mentioned in this email, please don’t hesitate to send me an email (, or even write me a letter if that suits you better.

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,
Lishia Erza-Evans