The Anna Lindh Foundation is holding from 1st to 2nd December a major conference in Alexandria, Egypt, focused on ‘civil society building open and pluralistic societies’. The conference ‘Moltaqa’ (“Gathering” in Arabic) brings together more than 200 civil society leaders from across the Arab region, in addition to representatives of CSOs from Europe and international institutions.
The President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, André Azoulay, addressed participants today at the opening plenary.
“Our societies, to the north as to the south of the Mediterranean, are in a significant process of change which short-term media headlines and certain political narratives rarely reflect. We know from our experience in the field that tomorrow will be better than today, that there is a convergence of values and aspirations among citizens of the Mediterranean, and the purpose of ‘Moltaqa’ is to put civil society at the heart of that journey in sharing ideas and practice in building open and plural societies.”
The ‘Moltaqa’ Conference is taking place at the internationally renowned Bibliotheca Alexandrina which co-hosts the Anna Lindh Foundation’s international headquarters. More than 300 civil society leaders from 9 Arab ‘Mediterranean’ countries – Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia - in addition to representatives from 20 European countries.
President Azoulay underlined the impact of the Foundation’s flag-ship regional programmes ‘Dawrak’ and ‘Young Arab Voices’ which were launched in response to the historic events taking place across the Mediterranean since 2011.
“‘Dawrak’ and ‘Young Arab Voices’ are not only the response of the Anna Lindh Foundation to new demands for public voice and skills for participation in the region but are also a testament about the need to reinforce our shared values – those of mutual respect, defense of dialogue, human dignity, and a resolute stance against any kind of intolerance or extremism. These programmes provide a perspetive for the next chapter of the Foundation, in deepening the social impact of our programmes and building the capacity of our region’s civil societies to work together in the face of common challenges of cultural regression and social crises.”
The Conference is built on a series of working sessions taking place on 1st and 2nd on themes including ‘How to use Arts to reach the wider society’, ‘Learning Tools on Intercultural Citizenship’, ‘Debating Skills and Young Arab Voices’, and ‘Youth Participation in Local Governance’. On the evening of 1st December, there will be a cultural event hosted at the Sayed Darwish Opera House in Alexandria with the Jordanian musical act ‘Rareq Nasser and Rum group’. On the 30th a pre-event was organised in Cairo by the Egyptian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture to welcome the Moltaqa participants and show-case ten years of the Anna Lindh Foundation’s work from Egypt.
The Anna Lindh Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue promotes knowledge, mutual respect and intercultural dialogue between the people of the Euro-Mediterranean region, working through a network of more than 4,000 civil society organisations in 42 countries. Its budget is co-funded by the EU and the 42 governments of the Union for the Mediterranean.