The Candidates (2)
Eric Wasson Burns (Zurich)
The last few years have been difficult for all of us. Our nation has become increasingly polarized, basic information has become politically charged, and mistrust in our institutions has grown. At the same time, our planet faces tremendous challenges which desperately call for urgent and unified fact-based action.
I am running for Chair of Democrats Abroad Switzerland not because I think I am the solution to our problems. Instead, I run because I know that we must empower our community to deliver the necessary solutions that we all want and care about.
I have the drive and experience in building teams and leading social initiatives. I also understand and deeply care about the technological and policy issues of tomorrow’s generation. And I want to work for Democrats Abroad because this is where change gets started and gets done.
I am 28 years old, grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and just recently finished my Ph.D. in Chemistry at ETH Zürich. Much of my research background focused on developing new solar energy technologies – chiefly, artificial photosynthesis.
Research has been a core part of my last 10 years, but so too has been building and leading organizations. One of my most fond early experiences I look back on is my time as founder and president of my undergraduate (North Carolina State University) chapter of Model United Nations. We sent a team of 5 scientists and engineers to a regional conference and came back with 6 awards. Since then, I have been a huge advocate of increasing scientists and engineer’s political engagement.
Most of my time outside of research has been either leading or founding social initiatives. During my last 4 years in Switzerland, I cofounded a ‘union’ (we didn’t use this term) to represent academic staff at my research institution called the PhD and Postdoc Association at the Paul Scherrer Institute (the Swiss national laboratory where I worked) where I was also president of the 12-member board. I also cofounded and was president of the Mental Wellbeing association (MeWell) nonprofit where we advocate for mental health awareness within academia. During the last 10 years I have founded and/or was president of 6 organizations (5 in Switzerland) and have sat on 8 boards.
Recently, I have also acted as the lead of the Swiss Democrats Abroad Youth Outreach team where we organized some 6+ GOTV initiatives across Switzerland.
See Eric’s full 2-page statement, bio and photo PDF → here:
Leedonal Moore (Zurich)
My motto: Angenehm Anders Alls Alle Anderen (pleasently different than every one else)
My name is Leedonal Moore and i also go by the name Jazzmin Dian Moore and i'm a Texas State Voter. I identify as non-binary and i recently celebrated my 40th birthday in company of my Swiss partner and our black labrador.
Originally i am from Mississippi and grew up mostly on Ramstein Air Base Germany. I've been living in Switzerland for more than 16 years and most recently also in France.
Early on i started investing my time and compassion in strengthening communities, especially the lgbtiq+ community. For my engagement i've received various awards such as the Miss Drag Queen Switzerland 2008 title, European Tolerantia Award 2016 and a Honorary Medal of Honor from the U.S. Embassy Bern.
My early interest in politics
Growing up in a military household and constantly moving across borders, i learned the importance of politics and diplomacy early on. Coming from a lineage of enslaved ancestors and a german royal lineage, which i can date back to the 13th century, my aim always has been to learn from our ancesters and forebears so that we can create a future in which our children can live, by the power of their vote, in democracy and in unity.
As an expat
As an expat living abroad, my rights and duties towards my Friends, my Family and my Country are just as important as the rights and duties of people living inside the United States of America. My duty is to help and guide expats in executing their fundamental human right to vote!
And this position
I am interested in the position of chair for Democrats Abroad Switzerland.
I have been in Switzerland since 2005 and i greatly admire the work that democrats abroad has been doing to help people to register for voting and to publish different deadlines for each state so that people can properly exercise the power of their voting rights.
I’ll be even more honest with you! i’ve not always been highly welcomed in democrats abroad, simply just because people couldn’t understand on how a person chooses to identify themselves as non binary, yet alone on what the correct pronoun should be, but it never stopped me believing in the core values of our democracy and of our constitution. why? because - we the people need to be UNITED in empathy, strength, passion, compassion, wisdom, - and we all remember former First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous words: when they go low, we go high.- for me this always meant: Lead by example!
After being reintroduced by a new leadership team and embraced again with open arms and hearts, i truly felt included and inspired to do my duties as well.
If there is one thing we have learned from the past horrorable administration, it's that our greatest power is to listen, trust in facts & science, invest in diversity & inclusion, cast our votes and lead by example.
It’s been my greatest honor representing Democrats Abroad Switzerland on various news outlets during the elections.
During a private dinner with one of our former ambassadors they pointed out that my potential is connecting people of all ethnicities, genders, faiths, sexual orientations - encouraging them in leading by example. Unity through diverse leadership.