In 2005, Belgium, its regions and its communities organized the third International Conference on Federalism 2005 in Brussels, which ran from March 3 to 5. Working sessions allowed delegates to share a wide range of experiences around these four conference themes; foundations of federalism, federalism and the distribution of responsibilities, federalist techniques and functioning methods and federalism in international relations.
The prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, opened the conference, and others speaking included President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria; Ali Osman Taha, vice president of Sudan; Dr. John Garang, Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement chair; Micheline Calmy-Rey, minister of foreign affairs of Switzerland; Wolfgang SchÃ¼ssel, chancellor of Austria; Lucienne Robillard, Canadian minister of intergovernmental affairs; Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state, India; Jean Charest, premier of Quebec; and Tassos Papadopoulos, president of Cyprus.
The Forum welcomed this event and assisted in a number of ways. From August 2004 to March 2005, a Forum staffer worked at the conference secretariat as a key member of the organizing group. The Forum provided valuable experience and expertise acquired as a result of the earlier international conferences. This organization’s contributions to the conference included helping to publicize and select the youth delegates, helping to plan the youth program, assisting the Belgian organizing committee to identify speakers and participants, and providing a special conference issue of the Forum’s newsmagazine, Federations.