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The EU called for enhanced investment in youth-led dialogue and leadership on the occasion of the very first Anna Lindh Foundation Young Med Voices Day in Jordan, taking place on the Anniversary of the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. Speaking at the opening, the EU Ambassador in Jordan, Andrea Matteo Fontana, underlined: “Young Mediterranean Voices is a key opportunity for our societies to eliminate stereotypes between the two shores of the Mediterranean and promote intercultural dialogue. It is important to foster the skills of young people to open up their political and economic opportunities.”
The Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, Dr Nabil Al Sharif, announced that the Young Med Voices Day would be an annual event to celebrate and reinforce the centrality of youth leadership in the face of historical growing mistrust and polarisation across societies. He underlined: “Young Mediterranean Voices is the ultimate flag-bearer of the values and objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership created on this very day more than two decades ago. The urgency to invest in a generation of dialogue leaders is the only viable route to building inclusive, empathetic and resilient societies.”
The Young Med Voices Day brought together intercultural debate teams with young leaders from Jordan and Europe to debate on the role of internet as a tool for democracy. It was co-organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the British Council, in association with the Foundation’s Head of Network in Jordan (Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies) and the Jordan Media Institute.
Young Med Voices Day represented a culminating point in a month-long programme of youth-led intercultural debates and national dialogue forums organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation and its partners and Networks across North Africa, Middle East and the Balkans. This month has directly involved more than 5,000 young debate leaders in intercultural debates, virtual exchange and national debate forums, with an outreach to a community of more than 100,000 young debaters across the region, the largest movement of its kind for intercultural dialogue. The outputs of this month of debates will be carried forward to a series of regional policy events in the coming months, starting with a regional forum in Valletta in January 2019 on the occasion of the 5+5 Dialogue with Foreign Ministers.
Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV) is coordinated by the Anna Lindh Foundation, and was launched by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, with the support of the European Commission (DG Neighbourhood). It builds on its successful precursor phase Young Arab Voices, co-founded in 2011 by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the British Council in response to the historic social uprisings and demands for public voice across the region. YMV will be expanding its operational scope to 2020 and beyond, creating strategic synergies with the regional programmes of the EU and contributing to impactful policy-making with multi-lateral partners in partnership with multi-lateral institutions including the United Nations, World Bank Group, League of Arab States, and the African Union.