LUXEMBOURG (28 OCTOBER 2015) – "We have the strategic vision for 2025 that the Anna Lindh Foundation will be the central institution and reference point for intercultural dialogue in the Mediterranean." This was the opening statement of Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg on the occasion of the 51st Board of Governors Meeting of the Anna Lindh Foundation. Hosted in the framework of the Presidency of the European Council, the Board of Governors meeting brought together representatives from the Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the European Union, League of Arab States and the Secretariat of the UfM.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted in his welcoming statement to the Board the importance of "investment in youth" and stated that the work of the Foundation with the high-impact 'Young Arab Voices' (YAV) programme was "extremely significant" and that it was "particularly central in the face of the current wave of radicalisation and social instability". Minister Asselborn also contextualised that the work of the Anna Lindh Foundation on intercultural dialogue and youth is more essential than ever in relation to the socio-political crises which had dominated the Luxembourg Presidency agenda, notably the impact of the refugee crisis on social cohesion and the rise of extremist trends and xenophobia on the two shores of the Mediterranean.
The Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, Ambassador Hatem Atallah, presented to the Board of Governors the progress review on “Working Together Towards 2025”, the strategic plan adopted by the Foundation’s Board on 11th June. The main updates focused on:
- “Investment in Youth”. The proposed expansion from 2016 the flag-ship debate programme ‘Young Arab Voices’ which will centre on embedding debate skills training in schools, youth associations and universities, and introducing new programme components on youth advocacy and communication.
- “Working Through Partnership”. A series of new cooperation agreements have been launched with regional partner institutions, among them UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the Club de Madrid, with a particular focus on scaling-up the impact and visibility of youth programmes.
- “Opening a new phase of Communication”. With visibility as a strategic priority for the current phase, the Foundation will begin implementing in 2016 its new communication plan, which includes a new large-scale programme of enhanced media skills for youth leaders and civil society managers.
The progress review was endorsed by the UfM Member States as well as the Foundation’s work plan for 2016. The review also received strong backing from the European Union (EEAS, EU NEAR), with the European Commission confirming it is working with the Anna Lindh Foundation for the expansion of the “Young Arab Voices” programme as part of a more “people-centred” EU Neighbourhood Policy in which intercultural dialogue and youth participation figure highlight in the agenda.