- Name: Martin Meier
- Date of Birth: 13. November 1994
- Place of residence: Balzers
Martin Meier is the first Liechtenstein citizen to apply for a seat on the World Scout Committee.
Martin Meier is currently Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Liechtenstein Scouts and Guides. (Photos: zvg)
Interview with the candidate for the World Scout Committee
Gary Kaufmann (Interview) - In August 2024, a Liechtenstein citizen will be running for a seat on the World Scout Committee for the first time at the World Conference in Egypt. Martin Meier (Unit: Balzers) talks about his chances of winning one of the twelve seats, the current situation of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and how winning the election would affect his role at the PPL.
Let's start from the beginning: Why are you running for the World Scout Committee?
Martin Meier: There are several reasons. Firstly, the new strategy will be adopted at the World Conference in Egypt in August. In other words, you have a lot of room for maneuver in terms of the direction the international association should take over the next nine years. Secondly, I have a certain skillset that will be needed to lead the global scout association. We have just drawn up a new strategy for the PPL and have started to implement it. You certainly can't copy and paste it, but some of it can be applied at a higher level. What also motivates me is the fact that - given the candidates running - it could be a cool team.
His international scouting career began at a UN simulation in Kristianstad during the 2011 Jamboree in Sweden. At the time, he was accompanied by "Knota" editorial manager Gary Kaufmann.
How can we imagine the role of this committee?
In the case of the PPL, you could compare it to the association management, simply with many more stakeholders. The World Committee takes on a strategic role and is responsible as a supervisory body for ensuring that the plan adopted by all national associations is implemented. There are various areas of responsibility, which the members divide up among themselves. One important role that has not worked so well in recent years is the monitoring function. You may not be the organizer of a jamboree, but as a world association you are responsible for major international events. Just as you have to coordinate 174 member associations. You must find compromises.
Did anyone ask you if you were interested in this position?
When my time as Youth Advisor was coming to an end, I was asked by various people whether I would stand for election to the World Committee. Apparently, what I had achieved was recognised. At the time, it wasn't an issue for me because too many candidates from Europe were standing for re-election. As a new candidate, it is difficult to force yourself onto the committee. That's why I continued to be involved with WOSM in other ways, keeping in touch as a member of the Finance Committee. During the current triennium, I was asked the question again several times.
The candidate is no stranger to the WOSM uniform.
And this time your answer was different.
Yes, the idea has become more and more concrete over the past few months. The conclusion of my deliberations was that I have the skills needed to contribute to the further development of the global Scouting movement. After that, the decision was easy for me. In November, the PPL association management officially nominated me.
Imagine an election campaign debate is taking place against your opponents: What are your strengths and why should people vote for you of all people?
One of my main messages is that small countries are underrepresented on the World Committee. This is a niche that I want to utilise for myself. I bring the perspective of a small organisation that works well. Every country has the same voting power in the election and there are many more small nations than large ones. Another advantage: thanks to my professional training, I have the strongest financial knowledge of all the candidates, which is in demand on every supervisory board. Especially when we look at the direction in which costs are developing in the international association. What's more, I was a Youth Advisor on the World Committee for four years and have also worked in other roles in the international association. So I have experience and know how the WOSM structures work.
Be honest: how do you rate your chances of winning one of the twelve seats?
Fifty-fifty (laughs). No, honestly: it will be difficult. I have to admit that when you look at who is standing and how many of them are from Europe. From my point of view, that's a positive thing: We've reached a point where there are over 20 candidates who can do the job well. That's when you start to make the cut. I hope that decisions will be made based on quality and skills that will benefit the committee, and not just popularity.
That doesn't sound confident.
If I didn't have a chance, I wouldn't run. I have built up a network in the ten years since I joined the PPL International Team. I'm certainly not the least known candidate standing for election. I have the feeling that I can win the election.
Martin has been an active member of the PPL International Team for 10 years.
How could the PPL benefit from your election victory?
I believe that Liechtenstein has a lot to gain if the world organization is run properly. If we experience another jamboree like the one in South Korea or the WOSM slips into a financial crisis, this will have a direct impact on the PPL. My involvement in the World Committee would also make us better known to the other national associations, which could help us further. Basically, small nations could benefit from me representing them there. The WOSM is adopting more and more regulations. These are good, but we also have to make sure that everything can be implemented in a size-compatible way.
The world federation is currently in a bad light because of the jamboree and incidents of abuse. Is this the best time to take on such a position?
I like challenges (laughs). As a global association, you only have limited influence on what happens in the national associations. Nevertheless, it always falls back on you when something happens there. Is the scout movement currently in its best phase? Probably not, but we've been in a much worse situation before. It is important that the problems are addressed and tackled. The existing committee has already started to do this and I am motivated to continue.
You are currently Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the PPL. What impact would it have on your role in the national association if you were a member of the World Committee?
In terms of the WOSM statutes alone, I would not have to relinquish my position in the PPL association management. However, if Liechtenstein were to apply for a jamboree, for example, I would have to step down in the event of a vote.
However, both tasks take up a lot of time and are therefore difficult to reconcile.
You're right about that. If I am elected to the World Committee, I therefore assume that I will no longer stand for the PPL association leadership. If I take on a task, I want to do it with full commitment. However, I will definitely finish my mandate here properly (until March 2025) and won't be completely out of the picture after that. The PPL have built me up over ten years. I was able to learn from the global association and bring a lot of that back to Liechtenstein. Perhaps it is now time for the association to hand me back to the world organisation.
From 2017 to 2021, Martin Meier was already an advisory member of the World Committee as Youth Advisor.
What if you lose the election?
I don't want to worry about that at the moment. I would probably be sad for a few days, but life goes on. Then I would get up again and look for other opportunities to do good.
We're coming to the end of the interview. Do you have any final statements you would like to make to our readers?
I would like to thank the PPL for nominating me. My candidature has nothing to do with the fact that the national association is too small for me. The office here is very interesting and I enjoy it. Rather, the seat on the World Committee is a unique opportunity that I would like to seize.
The Liechtenstein native would like to represent the position of the small associations on the committee.
The Interview also appeared in the Knota 01/2024.