Valletta, 7 March 2016 - The Anna Lindh Foundation has launched formal preparations for the 3rd edition of its Euro-Mediterranean Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, with representatives from regional institutions and civil society networks gathering during two days in Valletta. The Forum, which is planned to take place from 24th to 25th October 2016 on the eve of the first Maltese Presidency of the European Council, will represent the largest single gathering of civil society working for intercultural dialogue across the Mediterranean region.
The preparations were launched as part of a two-day international meeting in Valletta involving cross-cultural experts from Europe and the Southern Mediterranean region, coordinators of the Anna Lindh National Networks, and representatives of the main institutional backers of the Anna Lindh Forum (Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, League of Arab States, Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat, and MEDAC). It is the first time such a partnership has been constituted for the preparation of the Forum, also with the aim of creating a new dynamic among civil society and institutions to develop a common intercultural dialogue strategy for the Euro-Mediterranean region.
During the meeting in Valletta, there was a strong consensus on the need to leverage the Forum process to reaffirm the centrality of intercultural action in creating solutions in the face of transnational challenges impacting on societies in the region, including the impact of the refugee crisis, extremism and rising xenophobia, migration and youth unemployment. The Maltese government and participating regional institutions also underlined their commitment to ensuring the Forum process can have a central contribution to shaping the EU Presidency in 2017 and the new European Neighbourhood Policy. Key drivers of the intercultural dialogue agenda were identified for the Forum as a result of the 2-day meeting, with a strategic focus on: cross-cultural reporting; intercultural education; artistic mobility; social entrepreneurship and new models of civil society development; and the future intercultural cities. The delegates to the preparation meeting developed during the two days a communication strategy for the Forum aimed at launching a conversation on the future of the Mediterranean with civil society and opinion-leaders across the 42 Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
The preparation meeting was also an opportunity for the delegates to visit the Forum venue, the world renowned “Mediterranean Conference Centre” (MCC) in Valletta, and to meet with local partners. Specific meetings were held with the Maltese civil society network of the Anna Lindh Foundation, coordinated by The Geminarie Group, to co-design a programme of outreach activities to take place around the Forum focused on local impact, as well as with the Maltese Arts Council to develop the cultural dimension of the Forum which will be linked to the preceding World Summit on Arts and Culture and the preparation for “Valletta 2018” European Capital of Culture.
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