EU: youth mission to build a better Mediterranean

Power2Youth presented; 3.4 bn euros to facilitate inclusion

11 April, 19:27

    Students at University (archive) Students at University (archive)

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - The European Union is counting on youths to build a better Mediterranean, and is doing so with renewed vigor through its program 'Power2Youth', presented today in Rome, at the La Sapienza University in collaboration with IAI, the International Affairs Institute.
    At the center of this effort is the desire and need to improve the dynamics of youth exclusion on economic, political and cultural levels on the southern and Middle Eastern shores, and thus be able to act to reverse the situation.
    To do so, the European Union put on the agenda a three-year program and a budget of more than 3.4 billion euros.
    "Power2Youth is a consortium of research and member state university centres in addition to Norway and Switzerland, as well as countries of the southeastern Mediterranean," it was explained during the presentation. The programme's ultimate aim is to supply "innovative policies and practical guidelines" to facilitate a transfer of economic and social importance in favor of new generations. The first step will be "to extend knowledge of complex processes that regulate exclusion and inclusion of youth". Specifically, there will be five countries in the southeast to be examined: Morocco, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey, as well as the Palestinian territories.

    "The theme of Mediterranean youth is fundamental," Professor Isabella Camera D'Afflitto, noted Arabist and Sapienza delegate for Arab countries, told ANSAmed.

    "It is a matter that returns cyclically, but that is often not addressed as it should," Camera D'Afflitto said. "One of the problems is represented by the fact that we, in Europe, must start looking with new eyes at the southern bank - no longer with the eyes of those who go to bring the doctrine, but with those of who want to understand who these people are and their culture. So far this has not interested anyone. Now we are in a different phase," said Camera D'Afflitto. "Matteo Renzi's first visit to Tunisia as premier, but also one of the first institutional trips of French President Francois Hollande in Morocco, demonstrated that even politicians and heads of state understand that it is necessary to look toward these countries, that they have enormous potential, even for our industries". But if politics show encouraging signs, public opinion outside academic and student circles still appear to be struggling with cultural obstacles.

    "In Italy, there are strong imprints of ignorance, if not racism. It is thought that all Arabs are Muslim, and that all Muslims are fundamentalists. For this reason, academic and exchanges and scholarships allow youths from the southern shore to study with us and viceversa. The students are the best ambassadors that we can wish for". (ANSAmed).

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