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Hans Bruning is the Executive Director for NIMD since December 2011. From March till November 2011 he was Executive Director ad interim. As of 1 January 2012 he also acts as the Board of NIMD. Mr. Bruning has an extensive track record in development cooperation, civil society and politics. He started his career as assistant to a Member of Parliament and has been active in several positions, among others as Director of Development Organisation ICCO and as Director for International Programmes of CNV, one of the Dutch labour unions.

We interviewed Mr. Hans Bruning, the executive director of NIMD and EPD’s chair of the board of directors, on how he sees the role of EPD and NIMD in the sphere of democracy assistance.

1. What is the added value of the Community of Practice and why is it useful in the realm of democracy assistance?

Democracy assistance practices are more efficient when they are shared in a likeminded community, instead of working in splendid isolation. Working in a community is needed in order to exchange experiences and knowledge and to learn from one other. Democracy assistance is mainly practiced on a country and local level. Without communities it could easily lead to a narrow minded focus on the country itself without having an idea on practices elsewhere.

2. What does NIMD bring into the Community of Practice, and what is NIMD’s strategic orientation for the year to come?

Over the years, NIMD has gained experience in almost 30 countries and is nowadays working with its partners in more than 20 countries on all continents. We can bring in a lot of experience but we also want to learn from others. NIMD is experienced in setting up dialogues between political parties and broader political dialogues if needed. NIMD has worked a lot in supporting political parties and their actors in terms of strategizing, writing manifesto’s, political education and so on.

Our strategy for the next years is: to further build on this interparty dialogue; to strengthen old and consolidate new networks; to align the democracy and governance agenda to other interesting development sectors; to contribute to the innovation and renewal of political parties; and to invest in the post 2015 (UN-)agenda, in order to stand up for governance and democracy being at the heart of development.

3. As the chair of EPD’s board of directors, what are your personal objectives and ambitions?

EPD is a well-known and respected partner and player in the field of democracy assistance. We will improve this position in extending the partnership to new partners to make EPD more sustainable and visible. EPD aims to be the true democracy assistance practitioners network on a European level. Together with the staff and the board of EPD I hope to contribute to these ambitions.

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