Brussels, 1 June 2016 – The Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) and Friends of Europe (FoE) have partnered in bringing an alumni of the Young Arab Voices (YAV) programme to a high-level public policy dialogue in Brussels to discuss key regional issues. Hella Grichi, an experienced Tunisian YAV debater, participated as speaker in the policy summit "Time For Peace: Europe’s challenge in Africa and the Middle East” in Brussels on 1st June 2016. The event was organised in the framework of a high-level roundtable on the “State of Europe” which brings together European commissioners, ministers, parliamentarians and young leaders to discuss current issues such as the refugee crisis, the future of European development policy and extremism, and the role of youth, civil society actors and business representatives in addressing these issues.
Investing in job creation, education and skills-development for youth was at the core of the discussion. In his introductory remarks, Ali Zeddini, Vice-President of the Tunisian League for Human Rights (LTDH 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) highlighted that five years after the uprisings, the region still faces a lot of challenges and has not yet addressed the essential issue: youth unemployment and inequality. Zeddini highlighted: “to face extremism and radicalisation we need to work for and with young people in fighting exclusion, reinforcing education structures and encouraging arts and culture.” He added: “Many young people from remote and underdeveloped areas are more likely to join terrorist organisations – we need to reach all levels of society and include young voices into the public debate.”
In her intervention, Hella Grichi underlined the need to focus public policies that tackle extremism on unemployment and on facilitating youth participation: “In Tunisia, for example, young people don’t have a space in the established political and social circles. It is crucial to include more young people in decision-making and open the space for young entrepreneurs who take the risk to move forward towards a positive change.”