“The pandemic is seriously affecting young people worldwide, but in the Mediterranean and Middle East region, with 60% of the population under the age of 30 and with a youth unemployment rate of about 27% even before the crisis, the impact has been really strong”. This was stated by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, speaking to the panel for the Youth Forum Contest, an initiative run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), as part of the MED Dialogues in Rome. The aim of the competition is to offer some young people in the Middle East and Mediterranean region the chance to present innovative ideas and projects, during an important international event.
Vice Minister Sereni went on, “Covid-19 has interrupted the school careers of almost 110 million children and young people, because distance teaching poses a lot of problems in Countries with poor digital infrastructure. And for young women, the situation is even more difficult. It is estimated that in the Arab world about 700,000 women will lose their jobs”. ”According to a survey,” continued the Vice Minister, “over 40% of the approximately 200 million young people in the region are thinking about moving elsewhere. For all these reasons, the governments in the wider Mediterranean region must look at the crisis as a chance to encourage greater involvement of young people in society, backing the reforms they call for and listening to their plans and ideas”.
“This”, explained Vice Minister Sereni, “is one of the crucial messages that has to come out of the MED Dialogues 2020, and for this reason the Italian Foreign Ministry, along with ISPI, has launched a contest, for the first time reserved to young Mediterranean participants under the age of 35. This has given them the chance to present their innovative and creative responses to the crisis, ranging from health assistance to education, from social entrepreneurship to civil commitment, from protection of the environment to food safety, and from robotics to urban innovation. It is surprising to see how the young candidates, coming from countries torn by war, such as Syria and Libya, have had the strength to imagine the future of their Countries, and to submit innovative ideas and projects. What gives me particular satisfaction,” concluded the Vice Minister, “ is that there are so many women amongst the participants, and they have put forward very creative proposals”.
At the end of her address, the Vice Minister announced the names of the two winners, who were Paola Ibrahim for the Culture and Civil Society category, and Roberto Renino for Business and New Economic Models. She also congratulated all the other participants for the quality and extremely innovative level of their projects.
The winners of each category will receive a prize of 2,500 euros each, as well as the opportunity of presenting the development of their projects to a dedicated panel, at the next edition of the MED Mediterranean Dialogues 2021.