The MEM Summer Summit reaches its fifth edition

Institutional Communication Service

28 July 2022

The fifth MEM Summer Summit will be held from 18 to 27 August 2022 on the Lugano campus. This year it will focus, among other things, on the consequences of the war in Ukraine on the Middle East and Mediterranean region. Its outreach and the role of young people are always relevant: as customary, it will kick off with a nine-day seminar dedicated to 40 "young change-makers" hailing from 20 different countries. It will close with the Forum on 27 August which will also broadcast online. The detailed programme of the Seminar and Forum will be announced in the coming weeks at

Università della Svizzera italiana launched the MEM Summer Summit in 2018 in collaboration with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which is still one of the main partners. The acronym MEM stands for the extended region of the Mediterranean and the Middle East (from Morocco to Iran). It refers to a complex and heterogenous geopolitical and cultural space that has undergone and is still undergoing profound and rapid changes, not least because of the recent conflict in Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine ends a long period of peace in Europe and reshapes the world's geopolitical balance and relations among major powers. The effects of the conflict are resonating not only in the Old Continent but are spreading globally with a significant impact on the Middle East and North Africa on a geopolitical, economic, social and energy level. Food insecurity is undoubtedly one of the repercussions of greatest concern in the region.

Among the initiative's goals is to bring public attention back to the Middle East Mediterranean region. Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, issues about Syria, Libya, Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as the struggle of migrants and refugee centres, are rarely featured in newspapers, radio and TV. But problems and conflicts persist, even if far from media attention: the situation in different countries remains problematic and, in some cases, has even been exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine.

The MEM Summer Summit aims to develop new approaches, different narratives, and new projects that transcend physical and cultural boundaries between communities on all sides of the MEM region and with the active contribution of young participants.

During the nine-day Seminar in Lugano, a safe space is created where young people can meet, share experiences, collaborate and build common understanding. From over 250 applications USI has selected 40 candidates from over 20 different countries to participate in this fifth edition of the MEM Summer Summit.

The Forum brings together - partly in the Aula Magna of USI in Lugano and partly remotely - leading figures from business, policymakers, academics and intellectuals, who will debate the major issues and challenges related to the Middle East Mediterranean region. In addition, a young change-maker will also take a seat in each thematic session of the Forum for an opportunity to bring their perspective on the issues discussed.


Also for this fifth edition, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) counts on the vital support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation (the Middle East and North Africa Division) the City of Lugano and the Media partnership with SRG SSR - RSI.