Akaash Maharaj, chair of the FEI Constitutional Task Force, wrote the following letter to address the national federations. The Constitutional Task Force was recently formed to enable national federations to lead the modernisation of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
Last week, the FEI formally established a Constitutional Task Force composed solely of representatives from national equestrian federations (NFs), with a mandate to enable the global community of NFs to transform the governance architecture of the international federation. I am writing to you on behalf of the Task Force to lay our membership, our mission, and our initial plans before your judgement.
The Task Force’s members are Ce?sar Camargo Serrano of Colombia, Paul Cargill of Australia, Kim Gue?ho of Mauritius, Ulf Helgstrand of Denmark, and myself. We are all at your disposal.
This year, the FEI celebrates its ninetieth anniversary, and in many vital ways, our sport has never been stronger. Yet, the FEI is indisputably showing its age, as its existing structures and traditional culture creak under the strains of those very successes. Having reached the limit of what it can achieve in its existing form, the FEI has gamely striven to reform itself for the better part of a decade. Some of those efforts have succeeded; most have come to grief.
There is no denying that the setbacks have taken their toll. Nevertheless, NFs have remained certain that modernisation of the FEI is critical to the global sustainability of our sport.
We have, therefore, found ourselves at a moment of decision. Can we summon the courage to draw wisdom from our reversals, or will we allow those reversals to break our courage? To its credit, rather than retreat from reform, the FEI has instead pressed ahead by taking a leap of faith.
The decision by the president and the bureau to surrender the reins from the FEI’s centres of power, and instead pass them to NFs ourselves, is without precedent in the international federation’s history. As NFs, we now have a unique opportunity to assume responsibility for rebuilding the FEI on a foundation of greater democracy, accountability, and transparency.
We can remake the FEI as a modern institution, equal to its mandate and worthy of its name.
The Task Force’s mission is to animate this process. We will begin at the upcoming gathering in Lausanne, with an open and candid discussion amongst NFs about our concerns with the FEI’s present and our ambitions for its future. We will provide NFs with information on best practices from other international organisations, to enable us all to make informed choices. Most importantly, in the coming months, we will conduct a series of genuine consultations throughout the globe, to meaningfully engage the community of NFs in the process of rebuilding the FEI in the image of our shared values. We will report to the 2011 General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro.
As NF members, our Task Force recognises that if we are to have any chance of success in our mission, we must ourselves uphold the principles we would have the FEI embrace.
Our Task Force’s conduct will be open to full public scrutiny. Our consultations will be broad, deep, and sincere. We will invite criticism and respect dissent. We will approach our task with humility, understanding that we discharge a public trust in service to others. We will serve the totality of the international equestrian community, without fear or favour towards any one region or group. We will lead by example in our efforts to foster an FEI culture deserving of trust.
Irrespective of its imperfections, the FEI remains the one organisation that is our guardian over six thousand years of equestrian heritage. If we are to be deserving heirs to the generations of equestrians who came before us, and creditable stewards to the generations to come, then it is our duty to ensure that our international federation is capable of building upon our inheritance.
All of us on the Constitutional Task Force are to serve our sport, the community of NFs, and the FEI in this process, and we will work tirelessly to earn and justify your confidence.
We look forward to seeing you in Lausanne, and to working with you throughout the year.
by Akaash Maharaj
Chair, Constitutional Task Force
CEO Equine Canada
Photo © Sportfot.com for Just World International
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