Lobbying for love

17 May in Brussels

New horizons for politics and advocacy

Why do I think that we urgently need to have vital and honest conversations on regeneration and healing at the heart of Europe? Which learnings brought me to embrace a horizon beyond traditional politics, policy-making and lobbying? Discover my story.

Since I was 18, I have been engaged in politics and civil society movements. I have studied political sciences and worked as a policy officer in EU affairs. The experience of totalitarianism by my grandparents in Romania, as well as my own discrimination experiences (as queer and non-German) have brought me to engage for justice.

It was in 2019 that I fully realised the huge gap between political ambition and reality. My trigger moment: when someone quite loud and proud came with a Big Mac to a meeting about human rights and climate. Preaching water, drinking wine. Old story in fast fashion clothes.

Critically examining my own hypocrisies, I decided to embark on a years-long learning journey with coaching training and leadership development programmes. And stopped flying for a while. What had been missing from the rather abstract and systems-level world of politics was personal development and personal responsibility.

“I am responsible for my health and wellbeing and can act on it” was the spirit I felt behind coaching. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and reshuffled everything again. And with it, the insight that individual action is not enough to be healthy in a deeply sick world.

What I was actually looking for was integration - between the inner, outer and ecosystemic levels. As I embarked on the Regenerative Leadership Journey with Laura Storm, and met the co-host of our upcoming workshop, Michelle Holliday, I could reconnect to wisdom that rationalising and instrumental parts of my thinking couldn’t quite understand.

I could sense what living systems actually mean. And see the relation between how I see the world and how I shape my world. I have come to realise that the worlds of politics and lobbying are operating from a deeply mechanistic and unrealistic way of thinking.

In Brussels, many work in quite toxic working conditions, next to the difficulty of actually understanding which impact your work has. That’s exhausting. Socially and environmentally minded NGOs work in ways that are paradoxically the most damaging for their workers. Next to poorer pay. Is there some sort of Christian morale to suffering as a way to find redemption (achieving your advocacy objectives)?

When we look at what remains of democracy today, it may be time to face ugly truths. That the shadows of the past - fascism, colonialism, sexism etc. - are still with us. And that most theoretical models I learned as political scientists are based on false assumptions about human nature. The mindset of scarcity, competition and owning truth fires back with an epidemic of distrust, disengagement and authoritarianism.

How would the Brussels and EU ecosystem change if we were to embrace principles that are actually aligned to how life works? Which impact could we achieve if we brought back nature, marginalised perspectives and love into the equation? What if we gathered up to become Lobbyists for Love - healers of the invasive ideologies made in Europe? How would our world change if we finally assumed responsibility as historic top emitters, colonialists and world war specialists?

Join us!

18 April 2023
By Jean-Philippe