In 2020, the world has come together to face the global challenge of COVID-19. With its health, economic and social repercussions, the pandemic has indistinctively disrupted nearly all aspects of life for societies throughout the Mediterranean, posing a considerable threat for the region’s youth in the spheres of education, employment, and access to essential services. Furthermore, these concerns go hand in hand with several pre-existing issues in the area, such as the growing rate of youth unemployment, social exclusion, vulnerability, and institutional barriers. Overall, few issues in the region seem as urgent as finding solutions for the inclusion of the large youth population, expected to carry the burden of the long-term consequences of the crisis.
In order for the region’s youth to thrive as global citizens, their empowerment through the application of their untapped potential is crucial. In this regard, the Mediterranean area is not exempted from action. With its long history as a hub for creativity and invention, this could be an opportunity for the Mediterranean to reaffirm its role as a region capable of innovation and inclusiveness. But to exploit the untapped potential of the region’s youth, significant changes will have to be made.
To this end, MED Mediterranean Dialogues 2020 launches the second edition of the “Youth Forum Contest – Ideas and Project at Work” – realised by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI, in collaboration with the Representation of the European Commission in Italy, the Boston Consulting Group, the European Training Foundation, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, as part of MED Mediterranean Dialogues 2020. The purpose of this competition is to give a selected number of Mediterranean youths the chance to present their innovative ideas in front of a high-level audience, in order to promote their work and enhance their visibility. This year, the Youth Forum Contest will promote young leaders whose ideas and projects focus on finding innovative and creative responses to the pandemic crisis in the Mediterranean region. Participants will have a unique opportunity to present projects aimed at facilitating dialogue and fostering development and cooperation in the broader Mediterranean region. In line with the purpose of the contest, all the advanced projects will cover topics related to one of the two groups, respectively focused on Culture and Civil society (Culture and Education; Civil society; Health) and Business and New Economic Models (Employment and Business; Food and Water Security; Urban Innovation). At the end of all presentations, the professional jury and the audience attending the event will vote a winner for each group that will be proclaimed during the following panel. The two winners will then be awarded a prize of € 2,500 for the further development of their projects. In addition, participants will also be given the chance to present the development of their projects to a dedicated panel at MED2021 Mediterranean Dialogues next year.