International Relations Task Force Meets During NCSL Spring Forum, 2011

In April, 2011, NCSL’s International Task Force convened in Washington, D.C. to discuss important issues regarding state legislative involvement in international affairs, international and domestic elections and goals for the 2011 Legislative Summit in San Antonio. Discussions involving NCSL’s Legislative Summit were led by Ms. Kathy Brennan Wiggins, Director of NCSL’s International Programs Department. Task Force members focused on planning an interactive session for international delegates which would be moderated by US legislators and legislative staff. Mr. Bruce Feustel, Senior Fellow of the Legislative Management Department at NCSL led a discussion of “Best Practices” for presenting to or moderating discussions with international delegates, to coincide with plans for NCSL to host its first interactive session.

Mr. Ronald J. McNamara, Policy Advisor of the Helsinki Commission led a discussion on international and domestic election observation. He stressed the need for international elections to be observed and encouraged Task Force members with the appropriate availability, skills and interest to apply to observe such elections. He also emphasized that US legislators should invite their international counterparts to observe our elections and to set an example of best practices and demonstrate transparency. Senator James Rosapepe, former Ambassador to Romania also recommended that legislators track their international experience so that it may be shared with one another. The Task Force then attended a luncheon with the Indonesian Ambassador to the US, his Excellency Dr. Dino Patti Djalal.