Two candidates elected for GALE Committee

9 april 2017 - Two of the nine candidates for the GALE Advisory Committee have been elected: Aditya Bondyopadhyay (India) and Eben Díaz (Nicaragua). The other candidates got less then 10 votes, which was the minimum set for election.

Extension on deadline

The election was opened on 15 February and originally was supposed to close at 1 March. When votes were check on 1 March, it appeared only 84 of the 861 GALE members had voted. It was decided to extend the deadline to 1 April and to make two extra calls to vote.

Only 6% of GALEmembers voted

On 1 April, 117 votes were cast. But when the votes were checked, it turned out that a large number of 69 votes were invalid because their were cast by non-GALE members or because their identification was invalid. This left only 48 valid votes, 6% of the total number of members. Aditya Bondyopadhyay got 10 votes and Eben Díaz 13 votes.

Reasons for low number of responses

There has been discussion about why the number of voters is so low. One reason could be that emails of members are invalid because they change email and don't correct them or because they are deceased. This was tested. The GALE database has 140 addresses which are returned because they don't exist anymore (16% of the membership). A second reason could be that the mailing list is not working adequately. This was also tested. Although some candidates said they did not receive the first call, there was no indication the mailing list was not working the second and third call. A third reason could be that the membership of GALE is largely passive and inactive. This seems to be a major reason. Peter Dankmeijer, director of GALE says: "I don't think GALE members are inactive, on the contrary, they are often very busy activists. But they are very focussed on their own local and sometimes their own international work. When we did our original needs assessment for GALE in 2015, most people said they were interested in local action, not in investing in cumbersome discussions or in formal regulations. So maybe formal elections are not the best way to involve the GALE membership in the future strategy."

What happens next

The two members of the GALE Advisory Committee and the GALE Supervisory Board will be asked to comment on the election process and results. Later this year, both the Committee and the Board will be asked about the strategy of GALE in the next five years. This discussion will also be based on a global needs assessment which has a wider focus on how the UNESCO anti-homophobic bullying policy should be followed up. The proposals resulting from these discussions will also be shared with the GALE membership.