Dear IFES Member,

Like many of you after the recent incidents in Brussels, Istanbul and Paris, I feel myself experiencing a strange emotional mixture of fear and anger.  As we all know, anger is seldom a good advisor.  It limits our thinking and makes us act irrationally.  Anger leaves our society functioning way below its’ best.  If anger engulfs us, the terrorists have met their one of their objectives.  They are fighting against the very values we hold dearest to our hearts.  I was born in a country where freedom was not taken for granted.  I stand up for my values.

More important than how we handle our anger is how we choose to handle our fear.  I am sure there will be more attacks.  Whatever we do, we will never be 100% safe.  I believe we should not allow ourselves to give in to intimidation. We should continue our work at trade shows and events.   We should visit trade shows and events.  We should travel by train, by plane, by tube.  We risk losing the value of living in an open-minded society if we are subjugated by our fears.  This would be a victory for the IS terrorists that we cannot offer them.

As we look toward our IFES World Summit in Istanbul, we are keenly aware of the need to employ all types of safety measures.  We are presently in contact with local authorities to ensure our event is as secure and safe as possible while knowing that no amount of security can guarantee 100% safety.

I am proud to say that IFES is an open-minded community, inspired by an open exchange of different cultures and ideas.   It is for this reason that I hope to meet you at the Bosphorus, this June.

Best Regards,

Voicu Sferdianu
President