MED FORUM 2016: Launch ahead of next month’s unprecedented 42-country gathering for dialogue in the Mediterranean

The programme of the MED FORUM 2016, the largest civil society gathering and most influential process of its kind for intercultural dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean space, was launched yesterday.

The theme of the launch was ‘‘legacy’’, with a focus on how to further leverage next month’s MED FORUM to support Malta’s strategic role as a connection point between Europe and the Southern Mediterranean, and Valletta’s role as European Cultural Capital and a ‘‘Mediterranean Capital for Dialogue’’.

Hosted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Valletta, the launch was co-led by Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella and the Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation and its International Secretariat in Alexandria, Egypt, Ambassador Hatem Atallah.

Yesterday’s event also unveiled for the first time the MED FORUM programme, including its defined priority themes as well as high-profile international delegates and partners, which is the result of a unique 18-month participatory process involving the region’s main institutions, leading intercultural experts, and the Anna Lindh Foundation’s network of more than 4,500 NGOs and civil society across 42 countries of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella said that this Forum will launch a new, far-reaching process of intercultural dialogue that will help in bringing together people from around the Mediterranean, and will be in a position not only to contribute during Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, but also way beyond that into 2018, when Valletta will be the European City of Culture.

Anna Lindh Foundation Executive Director Ambassador Hatem Atallah said that the MED FORUM process has already been a catalyst for collaboration among the region’s main international actors and civil society networks, and is on target to launch the new programme of the Anna Lindh Foundation towards 2025.

Taking place next month from the 23rd to the 25th of October at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC), MED FORUM 2016 which will bring together around 600 representatives from various organisations, has been timed to prepare the ground for Malta’s first EU Presidency and reinforce the centrality of Mediterranean dialogue in facing global challenges of International Security and International Migration. The Forum is set to be a catalyst for collaboration, creating a far-reaching coalition of regional civil society and institutional players for dialogue with the confirmed presence of secretary-generals and high-officials from the United Nations, EU, Arab League, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid, Friends of Europe, UNESCO, and Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the 42 Member States of the UfM.

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