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The Next Chapter of Mediterranean Dialogue

Taking place under the Italian Presidency of the EU, and on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Anna Lindh Foundation, the Napoli Conference to address the role of civil society in facing social crises and unprecedented violence in the region.

NAPOLI (25 OCTOBER): On the occasion of its 10th Anniversary, the Anna Lindh Foundation is organising from 27th to 30th October 2014 the Napoli Conference on ‘The Next Chapter of Mediterranean Dialogue’. Hosted at the Fondazione Mediterranean, in the framework of the EU Italian Presidency, the Conference will bring together 250 delegates from the 42 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean, including civil society networks, regional institutions, media and political leaders. Their purpose is to exchange proposals, coordinate international efforts and define a next chapter of intercultural dialogue for the Mediterranean in the face of social crises, cultural regression and unprecedented violence in the region.

President Romano Prodi will deliver the opening keynote speech on the evening of the 27th October in Napoli. Ten years ago, in his capacity as President of the European Commission, Mr Prodi initiated and chaired the High-Level Advisory Group on Intercultural Dialogue, at the time a response to the impact of September 11 and the War in Iraq on relations between Europe and the Arab world. The High-Level Advisory Group advocated for the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue, which became the Anna Lindh Foundation, and President Prodi's intervention will focus on the adaptation of the Foundation and regional actors in response to historic social, cultural and political changes in the Mediterranean, a decade on.

The opening high-level debate, on the morning of 28th October 2014,will involve the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood, Stefan Fule, and the President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, Andre Azoulay. The debate, entitled 'Is another Mediterranean possible?' will focus on the paradox that in contrast with rising populist discourse or images portrayed in certain media, recent Gallup public-opinion polling commissioned by the Foundation reveals the region’s citizens are moving closer together in terms of shared values and aspirations.

From 28th to 30th October 2014, there will be a series of parallel meetings organised in the framework of the Napoli Conference: the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Advisory Council and Heads of National Civil Society Networks; the Senior Ambassadors of the 42 Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean; the EU Southern Neighbourhood civil society dialogue forum; and the Italian Civil Society Network for Intercultural Dialogue (RIDE). The Napoli Conference will also involve leading regional actors and international institutions, including the European Union and the League of Arab States.

On the evening of 29th October the Italian Presidency of the European Union will host a special event at the Teatro Mercadante including the outcoms of the Napoli Conference and Mediterranean Awards for leading international figures for for dialogue. The 30th will see the FEMPI Conference organised by the European Investment Bank focused on renewed economic and development investment for the the Mediterranean.