Joëlle Milquet is the President of ECES’ Strategic & Advisory Committee. In this interview, she explains how she joined the Strategic & Advisory Committee and got involved in conflict prevention, democracy support, and the gender dimension in democracy after her high-level political career in Belgium. As a matter of fact, Joëlle has held several governmental positions, including Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Gender issues (2008-2011), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior (2011-2014) and Minister of Education and Culture (2014-2016). In addition to that, from 2016 to 2019, she was Chair of the Security Committee of Brussels’ Regional Parliament. She was also a city councillor in the Brussels City (2006-2018).

The interview was taken last year by our partner and film director, Jarreth Merz, with whom we have collaborated extensively in the context of the film documentaries on the 2008 elections in Ghana (An African Election) and the 2022 Kenya Elections (Kenya’s Democratic Journey).

In this interview, Joëlle highlights the importance of a comprehensive approach to democracy that encompasses cultural, social, and economic dimensions. She emphasises the essential role of conflict prevention, gender inclusivity, and peace mediation in nurturing democratic processes and fostering civil society engagement. Addressing systemic discrimination is necessary for equitable, democratic participation and inclusivity. Joëlle points out the necessity of forging closer alliances between the European Union and Africa in her discourse.