The Anna Lindh Foundation has announced the launch of the 3rd edition of its “Euro-Mediterranean Forum on Intercultural Dialogue”, which will take place in Valetta on 24th and 25th October 2016 on the eve of the Maltese Presidency of the European Council.
The announcement came at a landmark high-level Ministerial meeting co-chaired by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah, and marking exactly 20 years since the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
Next year’s 42-country forum in Valetta will represent the largest single gathering of civil society and institutions working for intercultural dialogue across the Mediterranean. Building on the first editions in Barcelona (2010) and Marseille (2013), the Forum aims to reinforce the civil society’s central role in facing common challenges impacting the Mediterranean region.
Speaking at the high-level meeting in Barcelona alongside the EU High Representative, the President of the Anna Lindh Foundation Elisabeth Guigou said: “Civil society is indispensable in the face of today’s common regional challenges, and central to a addressing the root causes of extremism”, adding that “the preparation of the 2016 Euro-Mediterranean Forum in Malta will be a unique opportunity to build an alternative at the heart of civil society and reaffirm the grand coalition of values”.
EU High Representative Mogherini stated in her intervention that countries in the region were facing “hard times” but they "shared geography and history" and faced the same issues such as terrorism, radicalization and migratory flows. She called for unity to solve these problems. Mogherini also referenced this month’s joint communication on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), coordinated by EU Commissioner for ENP and Enlargment Johannes Hahn, which underlined in its chapter on preventing radicalisation that “cross-cultural dialogue, such as that promoted by the Anna Lindh foundation will be key”.
The Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented in Barcelona by Ambassador Alfred Zarb, one of the founding senior officials of the Euro-Med Partnership in 1995, announced that the Anna Lindh Forum would be hosted at the internationally renowned “Mediterranean Conference Centre” in Valetta, stating that: “We are convinced that the effective preparation of this Forum, including the mobilisation of the main civil society and institutional actors across the region, will offer a central contribute to the Maltese EU Presidency and reinforce a people-centric regional dialogue and EU Neighbourhood Policy.”
The programme for the 2016 Euro-Mediterranean Forum of the Anna Lindh Foundation will be underpinned by three central objectives to: (i) creative a space for networking and partnership-building among Euro-Med civil society and youth leaders to develop concrete projects in the facing of the region’s challenges; (ii) develop policy recommendations for regional cooperation and inputs for the Maltese Presidency of the European Council; and raise the visibility of the centrality of intercultural dialogue and flag-ship dialogue initiatives.The programme is being co-organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation with the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC).