An Exercise in Persuasion & Issue Advocacy

 An Exercise to better understand the impact effective communications has on lobbying & civil society

Learning to communicate and argue your position. Each project is an exercise in persuasion and making sound arguments. The aim is to give students an opportunity to take a position on controversial issues and to voice their concern on subjects which may have an impact on their lives. Letter writing exercises can help students to become effective “issue advocates” and help to instill confidence in a student’s ability to communicate. These exercises also give a sense of empowerment and participation in democratic processes. You may write individual letters, or in a group if you share similar viewpoints.

Presenting an Argument

1. State what you are claiming

2. Present the evidence for your claim

3. Present the reasons for your claim

4. Summarize to show what you established

Major Issues & Sub-Issues

1.  Problem

     a. What are the signs of a problem?
     b. What is the specific harm?
     c. How widespread is the harm?

2. Blame

     a. What causes the problem?
     b. Is the present system at fault?
     c. Should the present system by changed?

3. Solution

     a. What are the possible solutions?
     b. Which solution best solves the problem?

4. Consequences

     a. What good outcomes will result from the solution?
     b. What bad outcomes will result from the solution?

Issue advocacy seeks to use the media to generate public awareness of an issue, cause, or matter of particular concern to an individual, group, or organization (the issue is often a subject of controversy). Issue/media advocacy is the strategic use of media as a resource for advancing a social or public policy initiative. As a “citizen lobbyist” think of how you can use information and the media to influence public opinion.
Write a “Letter to the editor.”

NOTE: Your letters do not have to be in support of, or opposing a specific position. You can also write a letter to draw attention to the importance of considering and/or taking various approaches to these issues. While justifying your views you can make your case by listing "pro's" and "con's" to various arguments. You may also address your letter to XYZ if you do not wish to have a specific addressee & form of address.

1) U.S. student lobby & associations www.usstudents.org
The United States Student Association USSA is the country’s oldest and largest national student organization, representing over a million students nationwide. Founded in 1947, USSA is the recognized voice for students on Capitol Hill, in the White House and the Department of Education.

2) Editors of U.S. student newspapers

3) European Students' Forum  www.karl.aegee.org

Letter writing campaigns seek to influence decision-makers, NGO leaders, the public, etc, through organized and coordinated lobbying efforts (often constituents are urged by organizations to contact their elected representatives by writing letters, sending faxes and e-mails). Design a letter or press release which can be used in such a campaign (e.g. grassroots mobilization, or public support) to encourage lobbies abroad to take action on the position you have selected. Also, try to get as much media attention as possible. (TIP: Y
ou can make a request for individuals to join you in supporting your initiatives & activities so that you can be powerful advocates for … cause or position ... in order to help build … and determine the future course of … while advancing common goals).

1) Tips on Writing a Press Release
2) "Action Alerts," or "Calls to Action" (see lobbying & advocacy web sites in "Links" section of Lobicilik.com )

Write an open letter, or a letter of protest, addressed to one person, but intended for the general public (an open letter is a published letter on a subject of general interest, addressed to a person but intended for general readership).

●Compile names & make a list of email addresses & "forms of address" of world leaders, MEPs, members of national parliaments of the world, etc.

●Create lists for letter writing campaigns to universities, business leaders, think-tanks, academicians, media groups, civil society & NGO leaders, embassies and consulates, ministries of foreign relations, educational institutions and cultural organizations.

A Specific Editor-in-Chief for requesting publication of letter in a newspaper

To reduce likelihood of tensions and conflict.
To create a more peaceful world, with less violence & extremism, more security and tolerance. To reaffirm confidence in laws, and awareness of ethical/social responsibility. To draw the attention of parliamentarians, raise awareness, to enact and ensure enforcement of laws to prevent future incidents from growing into violent international crisis.
1) To secure justice & fair treatment for all, and ensure equal concern, treatment and respect for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion.  
2) For fair and equal defamation laws (ex: that protect the founders of all religions, prophets, etc...specify).

To stop defamation of the Muslim religion & Muslim peoples.
Select members of national parliaments around the world.
BODY OF LETTER: Arguments, evidence of harm, solutions.
Muslims equated with terrorism by cartoon showing the prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse. Frustration & anger of Muslims in Europe and around the world. Deaths, destruction to property, diplomatic missions. Widespread sense of discrimination (some argue that Europeans have demonstrated more responsibility in not offending religious sentiments associated with the Vatican, or Jews for example).

SAMPLE  LETTER EXAMPLE: (ex; MEP, or editor)

Specify on behalf of…  [FROM]   &   specify your form of address…  [TO]

Create a written outline for each position. Students will provide brief update presentations to the class, share ideas, specify the responsibilities and tasks of each student (if working in a group), and set deadlines for stages of planning and development. Be prepared to participate in all class discussions.

[First name & Surname]

Dear …

On behalf of…an organization (group of)… which represents…, we are writing to ask your support for…(or to take our position into consideration regarding…) No doubt you are concerned with… Millions in Turkey and worldwide are also concerned with... We feel that it is essential to… for the interests of …

[Body of letter]

Your added attention will be a critical element of … [the decision-making process, foreign policy outlook, impacting public opinion, future relations with Turkey, enhancing mutual understanding, security, international relations, regional policies, etc]  

We appreciate your concern on these matters and value your support.


[Organization name, NGO, members, supporters, group of students/academics, etc.

You may add city from Turkey, example: Gebze, Turkey]

Click here for SAMPLE LETTERS

GUIDELINES: Each day follow foreign affairs topics in the news which are of concern to Turkey, Turkish citizens, and Turks abroad. Letters are most likely to be influential when they are persuasively written. In your letters you can cite reliable sources, provide facts and examples, background material or a brief summary, offer to send further information on the subject, suggest meetings with invitations to Turkey, provide contact information for individuals or organizations, etc (demonstrate your abilities to use your PR and inventive skills). Remember, do not write in a manner that will weaken the objectives of your letter, and be certain you justify the need for your requested action. State why you believe it is the best way to address the issue. To be effective make relevant comments with an impact. Be clear, specific, concise, to the point, reasonable and polite. Do not be indirect, vague, abusive, or emotional. Outline your goals and organize your thoughts carefully before you begin formulating your letter. Suggested length of each letter: Maximum 2 typed pages-single space.

Extra credit: Electronic lobbying ( E-Lobbying ) Create a sample letter that can be used as a reference by different groups for an “E-mail Campaign.” Or, for extra credit, students can rewrite and address their letters to different audiences. After rewriting, attach a list of people and institutions that your letter can be sent to e.g.: MEP’s, U.S. Senators or Congressmen (Turkey Caucus), European Union institutions, United Nations Secretary General, ambassadors, members of any national parliament of the world, think-tanks, civil society leaders, academicians, and decision-makers. Always use proper address formats for international representatives or elected public officials at the local, state, national and international levels of government. If you are concerned about Turkey’s international relations/image, you may also address your letter to Turkish parliamentarians, Prime Minister, & Ministry of Foreign Relations. In your letter explain how improving public diplomacy and promoting Turkey’s image abroad requires the commitment and dedication of each parliamentarian. Make a request for parliamentarians to join you in supporting domestic initiatives and global campaigns so that you can be powerful and valuable advocates for… in order to help build… determine the future course of…and protect the public interest while advancing common goals. Explain why their support in this urgent matter is greatly needed.

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