- In Search of the Mediterranean Core Values
- Religion and Social Cohesion at the Heart of the Intercultural Debate
- Respect for Cultural Diversity on the Basis of Ethical Standards
- Governance and Civic Participation at the Peripheries of Europe
- Nuances and Differences in the Meaning of Democracy and Citizenship
- Locally-Rooted Youth and Social Movements in the Southern Mediterranean
- The Evolving Societal Role and Media Image of Arab Women
- Euro-Mediterranean Relations through Youth and Women’s Eyes
- A Vision for Social and Cultural Relations in the Euro-Med Region
EUROMED INTERCULTURAL ANALYSIS
The unique approach - and associated risks - taken by the Anna Lindh Foundation in its pioneering polling on the Euro-Med region is explored in an opening article by Tozy. The author exposes the evolution of trends in perceptions of values, based on analysis of the 2009 and 2012 surveys, with a particular attention to the current socio-political context. Increased mutual interest and interactions between the region’s citizens offer, according to Tozy, the most relevant basis for a long-term union across the Mediterranean.
Social cohesion is today at the core business of intercultural relations. Through the prism of religious beliefs and cultural diversity, Sara Silvestri analyses the quality of interactions among the citizens of the Euro- Mediterranean region, as well as potential areas of convergence around key values and sensitive topics. She reflects on the evolution of trends between the two Anna Lindh/Gallup surveys, positively observing a coming together around the importance of family solidarity, and openness to pluralism within societies.
Diversity cannot be understood as a factor of wealth and prosperity unless it is associated with a humanistic culture that adopts the respect for human rights. Antoine Messara argues that raising awareness of the diversity across our communities and Mediterranean region should be complemented by the implications of its management within society. From this perspective, the author traces a roadmap based on the concepts of normativity, religious diversity, and immunisation against the exploitation of fear and security.
Jody JENSEN and Ferenc MISZLIVETZ
New and emerging social movements across the Euro-Mediterranean region are challenging the traditional confines of democratic participation. Jody Jensen and Ferenc Miszlivetz underline the need for what is called regional and global governance, with many movements transgressing national boundaries and illustrating converging aspirations for citizenship engagement. In the end, the authors argue, this could lead to a re- articulation of dynamics between the state and civil society, as well as supra-national institutions.
While democracy is principally associated with tolerance and respect for diversity, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is not perceived as a strong driver towards these values, in particular due to its institutional nature. Larbi Sadiki explores the differences in the understanding of democracy by citizens from the diverse areas of the Mediterranean. In this context, the author highlights positive trends in the position of women as actors of social change, and the acceptance of attitudes integral to citizenship learning.
The social uprisings across the Arab region were to be anticipated, according to Aissa Khadri. Driven by youth, they emerged as a natural result of the state of the economy and labour market, which could not accommodate the large groups of highly qualified graduates with insufficient work opportunities and new needs of social emancipation. What characterises many of these movements, the author argues, is the way they are rooted locally, less ideological in their nature, and directed to the solution of specific issues.
Mahasen AL EMAM
Humanity has developed significantly in the sphere of rights, justice and freedom, yet the issue of gender equality remains out of focus in the process of social modernisation. Mahasen Al Eman suggests that part of the problem is the type of image that women, and in particular Arab women, receive in the media. While the latest Anna Lindh/Gallup Poll results signify a positive trend in the perception of women’s current and future roles in Mediterranean society, the author argues that there is still much to be done.
Despite the challenges young people and women face in their societies, the latest Anna Lindh/Gallup polling exposes optimism to the future. Eleonora Insalaco presents regional analysis from the point of view of these two central groups, highlighting how youth dynamism and intercultural openness are supported by the importance attached to curiosity, independence, and cultural diversity. At the same time, the author tackles the diminishing confidence in traditional institutions to address social problems, in contrast to growing citizen participation.
The latest Anna Lindh/Gallup Survey reveals a growing appetite for better knowledge and understanding, brought on by exchange among the actors of the region. Claire Spencer analyses the Mediterranean as one coherent body, explaining how the southern ‘Arab Spring’ might have inspired the ‘indignados’ and other movements in Europe. The author also calls upon policy-makers to acknowledge that the time has come to end the top-down frameworks, which risk to continue being at distance from the citizens who they serve.