Middle East Mediterranean region: 100 young participants from 30 countries in Lugano for the second MEM Summer Summit

Servizio comunicazione istituzionale

27 Giugno 2019

“Envision and Foster Change”: the second Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit (www.mem-summersummit.ch), held from 15 to 25 August 2019, will bring once again to Lugano several young participants from different countries of the Middle East Mediterranean region and Europe. The Summit will also host political authorities, CEOs, entrepreneurs and intellectuals, with the aim of tackling issues and propose solutions for a dialogue and development in the region.

Just like last year, the aim of the initiative is to promote and encourage an alternative narrative of the Middle East Mediterranean (MEM) region, addressing the situation and challenges in an innovative and tangible way, while taking into account the different contexts of a region so complex and constantly changing.

Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) relies on the important support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Middle East and North Africa Division and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and of the City of Lugano.

USI Rector, Prof. Boas Erez emphasises that, as in the previous year, the young participants will play a central role in the MEM Summer Summit, and they will be offered a unique work environment for an open and constructive dialogue. An approach which enhances the identity of Università della Svizzera italiana, highlighting its natural role of bridge between continental Europe and the Mediterranean. The initiative is unique because it gives a voice and wide appeal to the ideas and proposals devised by the young members of the civil society. The current geopolitical and cultural configuration of the region requires the engagement and active participation of all the actors involved. In a situation characterised by a growing distrust of politics and institutions, that are often perceived as detached from real life, it becomes crucial to give space and attention to all those who live and work daily in the region and who are aware of its problems and main challenges.

Both men and women from different countries and cultures were selected to take part in the Seminar, engineers, doctors, lawyers, journalists, students, entrepreneurs, researchers, and NGOs members. They will work side by side during the Seminar, to devise the innovative proposals that will be discussed during the Forum.

The positive and encouraging results obtained during last year’s sessions made it possible to establish new collaborations, in particular with the Graduate Institute in Geneva, and to obtain mandates in which some of the young people of the MEM Summer Summit 2018 took an active and enthusiastic role.

The MEM Summer Summit 2019 is composed of two parts: a Seminar open exclusively to young change-makers of the region (15 - 23 August 2019, USI Lugano campus); and an international Forum featuring leading figures of the cultural, political, and economic world in conversation about current issues with the young participants at the Seminar (24-25 August 2019, Palazzo dei Congressi). Admission to the Forum is free, upon registration.


The Seminar
The young change-makers will discuss topics from the following main themes:

  1. New Dynamics of the Middle East Mediterranean Region;
  2. Governance, Administration, and Policy Making;
  3. Cultural Narratives.

The Seminar includes plenary lectures, participatory workshops, film screenings, cultural activities, and meetings with ambassadors of and in the region. The approximately 100 young people will be accompanied by academics from Swiss and international universities, professionals and experts of the region. This year’s Seminar will see a greater involvement of USI faculty and Institutes, and the participation of the Summer School of the UNESCO Chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites e la SSPH+ Lugano Summer School in Public Health Policy, Economics and Management.

A good number of attendees at the MEM Summer Summit benefit from scholarships offered by public and private donors.


The Forum
The Forum is the culmination of the MEM Summer Summit. It will be held from 24 to 25 August at Palazzo dei Congressi, Lugano. During the one and half days of intense works, high representatives of the political, economic, cultural scene will converse with the young participants, starting from the proposals devised during the Seminar, on the pressing issues of the region (raging from culture, tourism, health, geopolitical configurations, regional cooperation, global and local dynamics, climate change). Each panel will be moderated by an expert and will see the active involvement of the young participants. The programme with speakers will be released in the coming weeks. The Forum is open to all interested parties. Entrance is free upon registration at the official website: www.mem-summersummit.ch.


For press registration at the Forum, all journalists are asked to refer to: www.mem-summersummit.ch/media.

All journalists are invited to promptly contact the USI Communication and Media Service for support in identifying among the several speakers, the ones closest to their topic of interest.


Media partner