TIME FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT: Listening and learning - a two-way street

Young Mediterranean Voices & EYL40 Young Leaders

22 May 2018 - 09:30 - 23 May 2018 - 12:30
Jamila Aanzi, Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar, Jaafar Abdul Karim , Abdallah Absi Halabi , Hind Abu Shkhadim , Mohamed Abu Snaina , Lina Almaeena , Mazen Alzaro , Ines Amri, Haia Bako, Khalaf Ben Abdallah , Abdelbasset Ben Hassen, Ahmed Ben Mussa , Anna Lisa Boni, Fatima Boulahdoud , Yostina Boules , Hala Bugaighis , Martin Buxant , Geert Cami, Edoardo Camilli , Jasmina Cibic , Paul Dujardin, Esmat Elsayed, Ulla Engelmann, Mary Fitzgerald , Julie Foulon, Elisabeth Guigou, Hella Grichi , Sami Hourani , Bjørn Ihler, Shada Islam, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Dharmendra Kanani, Assita Kanko , Jesse Klaver, Sherin Khankan , Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Michael Köhler, André Loesekrug-Pietri, Adele Luta , Rihab Mejri , Ayman Mhanna , Negar Mortazavi , Katarzyna Nawrot, Rory Newbery , Baha Eddine Obeidi , Sana Odeh, Yousra Qawasma , Fadi Quran , Soufiyan Saaoudi , Roba Salaheddin , Christian Scharling , Andreas Schleicher, Ibrahim Sorri , Paul Walton , Tarik Yousef

With more than two-fifths of the global population being under the age of 25, young people have a key role to play in building and shaping the world we live in. They can either be empowered as key actors for community dialogue and peace-building, or be excluded from the conversation by negative media and political discourse. It’s time to acknowledge the importance of the contribution made by young people to build and maintain peace, bringing innovative ideas to conflict prevention and resolution, and to recognise that young people’s voices need to be heard and respected as equal partners for dialogue.

This unique programme invites young people from across the Euro-Mediterranean region to meet in Brussels, discuss their experiences with influential representatives from politics, business and civil society, and give voice to the issues that they view as crucial both to their generation, and to their societies as a whole. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss some of the findings of the first Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security launched at the UN Security Council in April 2018 and pioneered with a global coalition of young leaders and regional organisations including the Anna Lindh Foundation and Young Mediterranean Voices.

For those observing Ramadan, breaks have been foreseen and facilities will be made available throughout the programme


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Time for a paradigm shift: Listening and learning - a two-way street

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*The EYL40 programme was initially conceived with EuropaNova, a Paris-based think-tank


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What do a microbiologist, an entrepreneur, a journalist and a Member of Parliament have in common? They are all European Young Leaders who are engaged in making Europe a global champion for a better world.
Day 1

22 May



Registration of participants




A moment to welcome the EYL40 and YMV to their first joint seminar and an opportunity for them to meet with their peers.

Welcome by:
Geert Cami, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Friends of Europe;
Paul Walton, Director, Strategy and Partnerships at the Anna Lindh Foundation


A moment to welcome the EYL40 and YMV to their first joint seminar and an opportunity for them to meet with their peers.

Introductory remarks by:
Jesse Klaver, Leader of GroenLinks and European Young Leader (EYL40), Netherlands




EYL40 and YMV will have an opportunity to engage with one another in an ice-breaking activity. This will centre around exchanging experiences and sharing stories of their leadership journeys.

Led by:
Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Strategy, Friends of Europe







If “education, cross-cultural skills and critical thinking are the basis of political participation and active citizenship” then the arts and intercultural exchange have a vital role to play in broadening the scope of perspectives in the public sphere. The artistic domain provides a key space in which to challenge social norms and values in creative ways, sparking new conversations and providing a space for collaboration, open expression and community-building. This session will also explore the role of virtual exchange in connecting youth leadership, and offer a preview of the pilot “Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange” programme.

What does it take to create the right conditions for artistic expression and intercultural exchange to flourish? In what ways can the arts be a driver for inclusivity? How can the arts and creative thinking be better mobilised as a lever for positive social change? 

Introductory remarks by: 
Jasmina Cibic, performance, installation and film Artist & European Young Leader (EYL40), Slovenia
Paul Dujardin, CEO & Artistic Director, “Bozar” Centre for Fine Arts, Belgium

Reactions by:
Nabeel Abboud Ashkar, Co-Founder and Director of the Polyphony Foundation and MENA Young Leader (EYL40)
Rihab Mejri, Civil Society Activist, Member of Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV), Tunisia

Moderated by:
Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Strategy, Friends of Europe






Promoting gender equality is transformational across all levels of society. Both the European and MENA regions seemingly remain male dominated but the economic inclusion of women is being prioritised in many countries as we see women’s confidence increasing and women taking more active and leading roles in business. The potential for increased diversity and innovation in industry as well as economic growth is evident, yet women’s creativity and entrepreneurial potential are still untapped.

How can we ensure that women’s contribution to small businesses and start-ups is facilitated? What are the main challenges faced? What difference, if any, do women make when they are at the table? What is the influence of social norms, culture, education, preconceptions and stereotypes on women’s access to and participation in business?

Yostina Boules
, Founder of Taqa Solutions and MENA Young Leader (EYL40), Egypt
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship at the European Commission directorate general for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Assita Kanko, Author, politician & founder of #Polin, the political incubator, Belgium
Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President and Founder of the Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL)

Moderated by: Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe



Shaping education in line with often rapid technological developments could be a key driver for growth in Europe and the MENA region.  We need to lead technology rather than be driven by it to keep up with competitors such as the US and China, to create new jobs and to avoid poverty for young and growing populations.  Digital education is a chance to ensure better employability among the younger generation, to improve the abilities and productivity of workers and to strengthen social and economic equality. Europe and the MENA region must change the narrative on education and work and speed-up their adaptation to the needs of the future. 

How can Europe and the MENA address the high demand for digital skills in the labour force? How can we make the most of our human capital, ensuring that both the younger and adult generations are prepared for the future needs of the digital age? Which successful models can be replicated on a wider scale? Europe and the MENA are multi-speed with many differences within the regions. What’s the best way to ensure every country benefits equally when moving forward?

Abdallah Absi
, Founder & CEO of GivingLoop and MENA Young Leader (EYL40), Lebanon
Julie Foulon, Co-Founder, MolenGeek, Belgium
Sana Odeh, Founder of Arab Women in Computing; Founder & Chair of the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World, United Arab Emirates
Andreas Schleicher, Director, Education and Skills, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), France

Moderated by:  Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Strategy, Friends of Europe







Sherin is Denmark's first female imam who has led the foundation of a women-led mosque in Copenhagen called Mariam Mosque. She is also an activist on Muslim issues including female integration and extremism, and has written numerous texts discussing Islam and politics. 

Interviewed by Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Strategy, Friends of Europe



This session consists of splitting the participants into smaller groups, with one participant host per group to lead a discussion on a topic they are experienced in. This will allow participants to exchange information and experiences, ask questions, and learn from each other in an informal setting. 

1 - Climate change —how cities can save the day
Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of EUROCITIES, Belgium

2 - The global race for technological leadership – winners and losers 
André Loesekrug-Pietri, Spokesperson for the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) and European Young Leader (EYL40), France

3 - As US walks away, can Europe (really) save the Iran nuclear deal?
Negar Mortazavi, Iran analyst and MENA Young Leader (EYL40)




Free Time



Bus transfer to the Belgian Royal Palace



The dinner will be hosted by their Majesties King and Queen of the Belgians
It brings together delegates from the worlds of politics, industry and civil society, representing the Young Mediterranean Voices and European Young Leaders’ programmes.


End of dinner and bus transfer to the Sofitel hotel Brussels Europe

For those fasting during Ramadan, a buffet for Iftar has been arranged at the hotel.

Day 2

23 May

Welcome and registration

Venue: Arts 56, Avenue des Arts 56, 1000 Brussels




The session will explore youth-driven analysis of shared challenges and opportunities faced by young people in the Euro-Mediterranean region, identifying cross border commonalities and differences, discussing action-oriented proposals to develop more positive policy narratives. This is an opportunity to listen to the voices and experiences of Euro-Mediterranean youth in order to critically evaluate the role Europe plays in shaping and influencing their lives, and suggest ways in which Europe can learn to play a more constructive role in its southern neighbourhood.

  • What are the hopes and dreams of Euro-Mediterranean youth?
  • What are they looking for from their societies and what do they expect from their governments?
  • How do they see the relationship between the MENA and European regions?
  • What do they want to achieve in their own lives and what prevents them from moving forward and reaching their goals? 

Elisabeth Guigou, President of the Anna Lindh Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue
Jaafar Abdul Karim, Presenter of Shabab Talk at the Deutsche Welle TV and winner of the Mediterranean Journalist Awards
Bjorn Ihler, Founder of Khalifa-Ihler Institute and Kofi Annan Extremely Together Young Leader
Esmat Elsayed, Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV) and delegate to the Africa-EU Summit
Fadi Quran, Senior Campaigner at Avaaz and MENA Young Leader (EYL40)

Moderated by: Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe






The session will explore youth-driven analysis of shared challenges and opportunities faced by young people in the Euro-Mediterranean region, identifying cross border commonalities and differences, discussing action-oriented proposals to develop more positive policy narratives. This is an opportunity to listen to the voices and experiences of youth in order to critically evaluate the role Europe plays in shaping and influencing their lives, and suggest ways in which Europe can learn to play a more constructive role in its southern neighbourhood.

  • National governments and international organisations have started extolling the virtues of youth engagement but are they also walking the talk through policies and actions?
  • What are the real benefits of bringing young people into the policy and decision -making machinery at the national and multilateral level?
  • In which areas would such youth involvement be especially beneficial and why?
  • Given the growing disengagement of young people from national and international institutions, which governance models at all level could help bridging the gap?

Hella Grichi, Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV)
Abdelbasset Ben Hassen, President, Arab Institute for Human Rights
Michael Köhler, Director of Neighbourhood, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission
Tarik Yousef, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development programme at Brookings
Haia Bako, Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV)

Moderated by:
Shada Islam
, Director of Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe



End of high-level Dialogue 

Transfer to the European Parliament conference on Youth, Peace, and Security for those who have registered to attend.

Jamila Aanzi
2017 Dutch UN Women's Representative Dutch Women's Council and EYL2014
Jamila has positioned herself as one of the leading innovators in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She has participated in numerous programmes aimed at encouraging cooperation between diverse backgrounds and envisioning a new social and political vision. In 2017, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed Jamila as the Dutch women’s representative at the United Nations. As a senior international trainer for the Max van der Stoel foundation she trains political parties and politicians in Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and North-Africa. Jamila is an alumni of several international leadership programs like the Israeli ‘future European leaders' programme and the US State Department’s ‘international visitors leadership’ programme.
Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar
Co-Founder & Artistic Director at Polyphony Foundation, MENA Young Leader 2017
A gifted violinist and visionary champion for youth and community development, Nabeel has led and inspired people from all walks of life across Israel, Europe and the U.S. He performed with, and was a spokesperson for, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for a decade as well as performing as a soloist with the Jerusalem Camerata and the Haifa Symphony orchestras. In 2006, Nabeel gave up his music career and returned to his hometown, the Arab-Israeli city of Nazareth, where he founded and led the Barenboim-Said Conservatory—now known as the Polyphony Conservatory—to answer the need he saw in the community for quality music programming. Nabeel has been awarded the Yoko Ono Award for Courage in the Arts for his lifelong-commitment to fostering a sense of community between young pan-Arab and Jewish musicians
Jaafar Abdul Karim
Presenter of Shabab Talk at the Deutsche Welle TV and winner of the Mediterranean Journalist Awards
Presenter of Shabab Talk on Deutsche Welle Television and winner of the 2017 Med Journalist Awards. As the name implies, “Shabab Talk” brings together young people from Germany and the Arabic countries discuss current, socio-political topics. Before hosting Shabab Talk, Jaafar Abdul Karim worked as an editor and video journalist for the talk show “Jugend ohne Grenzen” (Youth without borders); he therefore commuted between Cairo and Berlin to shoot and produce his reportages for the show. Born in Liberia and raised in Switzerland and Lebanon, Jafaar Abdul Karim feels at home in both worlds. He studied Media Computer Science at the TU (Technische Universität) Dresden and at the INSA (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées) Lyon; additionally he completed a directing workshop at the London Film Academy. Now Jaafar lives in multiple cultures. This had a decisive influence on him and his life.
Abdallah Absi Halabi
Founder & Chief Executive Officer Zoomal and MENA Young Leader 2017
Abdallah is founder and CEO of Zoomal, the leading crowdfunding platform in the Middle East, which involves the top VCs in MENA, and co-founder of GivingLoop, a sustainable fundraising platform that helps non-profits focus less on fundraising and more on changing the world.  Abdallah did not complete his university education, but went on to see huge successes in the entrepreneurial world, being covered by CNN, WSJ, Forbes, and others. He is also an Ashoka fellow, a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum in the Beirut Hub, and a Startup Weekend organizer of the Kauffman foundation, and describes himself as a social mission-driven tech entrepreneur on a mission to redefine global philanthropy using tech.  
Hind Abu Shkhadim
Project Coordinator and Trainer Community Development & Continuing Education Institute, (YMV)
Hind is a Project Coordinator and Trainer at the Community Development & Continuing Education Institute, a non-governmental organization promoting the values of human rights, equality, good governance, and civic participation within the Palestinian society. Hind has led many trainings and projects in the fields of education, human rights, entrepreneurship, youth engagement, and intercultural dialogue, which helped dozens of Palestinian youth be both empowered and knowledgeable about their rights and the rights and culture of others. Hind is the Middle East-Africa 2013 winner of the Google+ Social Media Marketing Competition for a campaign to empower women and fight the negative stereotypical images of women in Palestine, and worldwide.
Mohamed Abu Snaina
Co-Founder, Vice President & CEO Dialogue & Debate Association, (YMV)
Mohamed has been active in civil society and democratic transformation since 2011 and in the last few years, he has been involved in the fields of debating, youth empowerment and national reconciliation. Mohamed started his career as a volunteer trainer with the international network Y-PEER and was also elected as the president of the Student Union in the faculty of engineering at Misrata University. He later co-founded the Dialogue and Debate Association where he holds the roles of Vice President and CEO. Mohamed has participated in many programs and projects that have contributed to the training and development of youth and strengthened their role in their communities with regards to civil and national reconciliation. He has taken part in in the sub-Regional Consultation on Youth, Peace and Security UNSCR 2250 and other similar events in the Netherlands with the same goal. Mohamed will carry out a mission to New York on the occasion of the Sixth Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review at the UN General Assembly next June as a representative of Libya.
Lina Almaeena
Co-founder & Director Jeddah United and MENA Young Leader 2017
Lina is a leading figure in the sport industry in Saudi Arabia, who co-founded Jeddah United (JU), the first Saudi private sports company to train girls and boys in team sports to promote sports culture. Lina was captain of the Jeddah United Women’s basketball division up to 2012, a columnist for Almadina newspaper, and climbed to Everest Base Camp as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. Her efforts are an example of grassroots efforts challenging the strict gender rules in Saudi Arabia, and Lina has been listed as one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East by Forbes Magazine 2014.
Mazen Alzaro
Lawyer Palestinian Bar Association, (YMV)
Mazen is a lawyer and trainer specialized in European Studies. He is also the Palestinian representative of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA). Mazen is considered to be a peacebuilder by the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC). He has also worked with many international associations and universities such as Virginia University and was a scholar at the Risk Network "SAR" in the field of human rights and legal research. He coaches debate at more than 10 Palestinian universities, schools and NGOs and has won many prizes such as the title of Best Debater in Palestine in 2014 . He is interested in the fields of human rights and youth empowerment.
Ines Amri
Senior Development Consultant, MENA Young Leader 2017
Ines is a high-performing, award-winning executive with 10 years of experience founding and establishing socially-minded NGOs in the Maghreb region. She is the Founder and Chair of Organisation Volonté et Citoyenneté, a community-based non-profit in the South of Tunisia. She also served as Managing Director of the Maghreb Economic Forum, a Swiss-Tunisian Think-Do-Tank. She currently serves as a Senior Development Consultant at national and international organizations like the Arab Institute of Business Leaders, CANDID Foundation, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Global Projects Partner and Hilfswerk Austria. She is a member of different networks including EYL40, BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, Bosch Foundation, UNAOC, US DOS Professional Fellows and the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Ines was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and is now embarking on an Executive MBA program at ESMT Berlin.
Haia Bako
Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV)
Haia has been an active volunteer with the “Madrasati Initiative”, which focuses on schools in Jordan. She finds joy in giving to others. Haia has always been an active member in civic and social associations and, as a believer in feminism and female empowerment, came up with an initiative during her sophomore year with a group of youth that aims to raise awareness of early marriage issues among under age girls. Haia also participated in Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, which was held in Vienna in March 2018. Furthermore, she is involved in international initiatives such as Young Arab Voices and Young Mediterranean Voices Plus. The former is an international debate competition and over the years, she has attained the title of Master Trainer and, together with her team, won several international competitions. The latter is the initiative of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU Federica Mogherini regarding MENA and Europe which aims to redefine EU South politics through youth participation. 
Khalaf Ben Abdallah
Vice President Al Montada Organization, (YMV)
Khalaf is a medical student at the Faculty of Medicine of Tunis and has over four years of experience with Tunisian and international civil society. An education and youth inclusion advocator and social entrepreneur, Khalaf has successfully co-founded various social start up projects in Tunis and internal regions in Tunisia, empowering more than 500 high school students with entrepreneurial thinking skills. Khalaf is currently the Project Manager and Vice President at Al Montada, an organization that aims to rethink higher education in Tunisia. He led the Forum Project which aims to increase students’ inclusion in the reform process by bringing together the different stakeholders in the field (students, professors, deputies from the Parliament, universitiy presidents, employers and civil society representatives) in order to achieve quality education. He is currently lobbying the Tunisian parliament for students' inclusion in the reform process. Khalaf is also working on implementing a Policy Incubation Lab in Tunisian universities to make policy making more inclusive, visionary and data driven. He recently became an Ashoka Changemakers for MENA, Europe and Turkey and had the chance to be a part of the Tunisian Delegation who met Helen Clark, a UNDP Administrator, to discuss her Youth Socio Economic Inclusion plan in Tunisia and the possible ways to engage youth in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Abdelbasset Ben Hassen
President, Arab Institute for Human Rights
Abdelbasset Ben Hassen is the President of the Arab Institute for Human Rights. Abdelbasset is also the chairman of the Tunisian national committee for the support of refugees and served as a member of the high committee for the realization of the objectives of the revolution, political reform and democratic transition. Previously, he taught Human Rights in Tunis and Strasbourg, and has written extensively on human rights, human rights education and culture. He was a member of the drafting committee of the United Nations World Program on Human Rights Education.
Ahmed Ben Mussa
Chief Commercial Officer Tatweer Research and MENA Young Leader 2017
Ahmed is an energy expert with ten years of experience in operations and business development of the oil service industry in the United States, Egypt and Libya. Most recently, Ahmed was nominated as the Chief Commercial Officer at Tatweer Research, a leading Libyan technological organisation with a focus on nurturing the country’s young potential, supporting entrepreneurs and attracting international expertise and investment. Prior to that, he worked with the UN World Food Programme in Libya where he conducted food security assessments on the field.
Anna Lisa Boni
Secretary General at EUROCITIES
Anna Lisa Boni is secretary general of Eurocities, the leading network of European cities. She has over 20 years experience in EU public affairs in the field of local and regional government, having been director of the Brussels office of the French region Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. In addition, Anna Lisa has worked for the city of Bologna in Italy, with European and international networks and the European Parliament. Anna Lisa is a committed to working for a stronger recognition of cities challenges within the European agenda, as well as finding constructive solutions to these.  
Fatima Boulahdoud
European Volunteer Die Villa Sociocultural CenterLeipzig, Germany (YMV)
Fatima is a social worker in Morocco, with a degree in linguistics and experience from working for national and international organisations. She is Co-Founder of the Debate Club of the South in the frame of Young Arab voices programme and has occupied different positions during her professional career. Currently, she leads a project on citizen journalism in the southern cities of Morocco, which aims to train 50 young people from five cities in journalism to make the voices of their communities heard. Moreover, Fatima has been involved with other projects related to children, education, culture and citizenship, with a particular focus on youngsters through two projects by her organisation Radijojo for children, “We are the future of Morocco” and “Asalamo Alaykom”. In 2012, she received the World Summit Youth Award in Canada for her work with the Radijojo organisation in the field of media-based education and the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.Fatima joined the YMV+ as a Young Arab voices in 2012.  
Yostina Boules
Founder & Managing Director, Taqa Solutions and MENA Young Leader 2017
Yostina, dubbed “the magic machine” by farm owners, is Founder and Managing Director of Taqa Solutions, an Egyptian based organisation that aims to provide a clean and independent energy source to farmers by producing energy from poultry waste. By doing this, the Taqa solutions simultaneously addresses the problem of waste management from one of Egypt’s main agricultural industries, while maximising clean energy production. Yostina was selected as a Pioneer of Egypt after becoming a finalist on El Mashrou3, an entrepreneurship reality television competition.  
Hala Bugaighis
Co-Founder, Jusoor and MENA Young Leader 2017
Hala is a lawyer and co-founder of Jusoor, a non-governmental organisation committed to independent policy research and human development projects for women with focus on the economic and social empowerment. As a lawyer with 15 years of experience, Hala focuses on commercial, banking, civil and investment laws, and has a sound understanding of law practice in an international context. Through her private companies, Hala has worked as a consultant to many international companies as well as Libyan private and public entities, focusing on development and capacity building. In 2015, Hala was nominated a UN Women Champion for Women Economic Empowerment – an initiative that aims to improve women’s economic standing and potential around the world.   
Martin Buxant
Senior Writer at L'Echo and EYL 2015/2016
With two master’s degrees in Communication and European Integration (Economics), Martin first entered the world of journalism in 2002 initially as a European correspondent and later a political journalist. He has been a reporter for La Libre Belgique and De Morgen, as well as an editor for the television programme “Politiquement Correct” on RTL-TVI during the most recent legislative and regional elections in Belgium. He is currently a Senior Writer at the daily business newspaper L’Echo where he serves as both a political journalist and an editor. Martin appears daily on the Bel-RTL television channel where he conducts a political interview every morning. He is an accomplished author having most recently published a biography of the current Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders.   
Geert Cami
Co-Founder & Secretary General
Geert Cami co-founded Friends of Europe in 1999 and now mainly deals with the strategic development (from concepts to fundraising and implementation) of our think-tank and its flagship projects. He also focuses on the expansion and the activation of our vast network of senior political, corporate, media and societal contacts throughout the world, and coordinates the work of the Boards involved in the governance of the organisation. Since its launch in February 2019, Geert also runs TownHall Europe, the Davignon Centre for New Leadership, next to the European Parliament in Brussels. In the nineties, Geert worked for a few years in ECHO at the European Commission, where he helped create and develop the then newly set-up Information and Communications Unit. His focus was mainly on raising the profile of the EU’s humanitarian efforts throughout the world, managing the Information Budget and dealing with outreach through publications and media initiatives such as exhibitions, television debates or Humanitarian Days in Member States. Geert also headed the European conference organising, press relations and publishing company Forum Europe for more than ten years. At the outset of his career, Geert worked for 2 music programmes at Belgian public Radio 1, and very briefly as a teacher and TV journalist.
Edoardo Camilli
Co-Founder & CEO, Hozint and EYL2017
A young entrepreneur and security expert, Edoardo started working as a political and security risk consultant after graduating from the University of Bologna. In 2010, he established the International Security Observer, a web-based think tank seeking to foster the next generation of security experts. At the time, he was also working as a research analyst at the Italian Institute of Strategic Studies Niccolò Machiavelli, where his activities focused on insurgency, intelligence, national security policies and organised crime. Edoardo is the co-founder of Hozint (Horizon Intelligence), a consulting firm providing location-based media and social media monitoring services on political, safety and security risks. He is frequently interviewed on security issues by media in Italy and across Europe.  
Jasmina Cibic
Artist and and EYL2014
Jasmina works across a range of media including photography, performance, installation and video. Most often characterised as a visual artist, her artwork is focused on the positioning and analysing of space vis-à-vis other societal categories. She is the author of numerous exhibitions which have been shown all over Europe, as well as the recipient of prestigious Slovenian, European and international awards, including the Bevilacqua la Masa (Venice 2002 and 2005), the Slovenian Trend Award for Outstanding Achievements in Visual Art (2011), and the Catlin Commission Award (London, 2011). She represented Slovenia at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.  
Paul Dujardin
CEO and artistic director at BOZAR
Paul Dujardin is CEO and artistic director of the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels, and under his direction the Centre has turned into an internationally recognised, multi-and-interdisciplinary arts centre. Paul is involved in driving forward the European project, and has developed BOZAR into a platform to initiate debate between citizens, the arts, decision-makers and other sectors, and he is the animator of the steering committee of the ‘New Narrative for Europe’ project, which aims to give Europe a more cultural vision for the future. Previously, Paul was  CEO of the Société  Philharmonique de Bruxelles, and in charge of the annual Ars Musica festival.  In 2016, Paul received the Lobby Award 2016 Brussels Leader of the Year for his work in reenergising Brussels. 
Esmat Elsayed
Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV) and delegate to the Africa-EU Summit
Esmat is passionate about structured cross-cultural dialogue and debates. She is a founder of the Young Arab Voices Project in Egypt, which started in 2011 with the Anna Lindh Foundation and the British Council. She is also a debate trainer and adjudicator. Esmat has co-founded 2 national initiatives in Egypt: “Debate for Life” and “Engaging-Empowerment Egyptian Youth (EYouth)”, which worked on training Egyptian youth in debating, dialogue and entrepreneurial skills. Esmat is one of the 36 Youth Fellows of the AU-EU Youth Plug initiative who designed and wrote the Youth Agenda presented to heads of states at the Abidjan Summit in November 2017. Esmat worked on the Governance and Political inclusion section, which created three initiatives to enhance AU–EU cooperation in the areas of decentralization of governance, illicit financial flows and utilizing e-governence tools to enhance transparency and accountability across AU and EU member states
Ulla Engelmann
Head of unit, European Commission Directorate-General for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs
Ulla Engelmann is Head of Unit of Clusters, Social economy and Entrepreneurship at DG Grow, the European Commission Directorate-General for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs. Previously, Ulla worked at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house science service of the European Commission. She began working at the JRC as a post-doc in fusion research, and moved on to manage various units (communication, international relations, and others) in Ispra and Brussels.
Mary Fitzgerald
Libya Analyst, Award-Winning Journalist and EYL2013
Mary is a journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. Her work has appeared in publications including the Economist, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and the Guardian. She has conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED) among others. She is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. In her previous role as Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent, she reported from 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a member of the Global Women’s Forum ‘Rising Talents’ network.
Julie Foulon
Co-Founder at MolenGeek
Julie Foulon is co-founder of MolenGeek, a socially conscious tech ecosystem based in one of the poorer Brussels neighbourhoods. It aims to make technology and entrepreneurship more accessible, especially to youth who lack academic backgrounds. It is also a start-up incubator and offers coding lessons for free. They pursue a vision in which young people take active roles in shaping the future rather than adapting to it. Before MolenGeek, Julie founded Girleek, a platform seeking to promote female engagement in Tech. She was also at the head of BetaGroup, the largest Tech ecosystem from Belgium, composed of over 8000 members.
Elisabeth Guigou
President of the Anna Lindh Foundation
Elisabeth Guigou is president of the Anna Lindh Foundation, a network of civil society organisations dedicated to promoting intercultural dialogue in the Mediterranean region. Before this appointment, Guigou served as French Minister of European Affairs, member of the European Parliament, and member of the French National Assembly, among numerous other posts. In addition to this, Guigou was the first female to be appointed Minister of Justice in France, where she distinguished herself for her fight for a more independent justice system.
Hella Grichi
Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV)
Hella's experience with Young Arab Voices started in 2014 and inspired her to immerse herself in civil society, grassroots activism and women's empowerment. With the École Normale Supérieure debate team, she won the Tunisian national debate competition and was the fourth best debater. Hella is also a Co-Founder of Aspire to Inspire, an initiative aiming to promote English Spoken Word poetry in Tunis and is currently very active with the socio-cultural grassroots initiative called “Blech 7ess” (Without Noise), focused on pairing the promotion of art with social dimensions. Being a writer herself, she recently published a few works and is also writing lyrics for local bands. She has worked for the German embassy in Tunis since 2017.  
Sami Hourani
Founder and Executive Director of Leaders of Tomorrow and MENA Young Leader 2017
Sami is medical doctor and serial social entrepreneur. He is the founding director of the well-known educational platform For9a.com. Sami is also the Founder and the Executive Director of the regional organisation Leaders of Tomorrow and the innovative social initiatives Diwanieh, Mo7aka and the new and creative qualitative research methodology FADFED. He is a fellow at Ashoka, largest hub for social innovators worldwide. He received King Abdullah II Demoqrati award in 2014 and EUROMED youth award in 2013. He was also elected as the Jordanian Role Model of 2011 and received the Jordanian title “Knight of Change” in 2008.   
Bjørn Ihler
Founder of Khalifa-Ihler Institute and Kofi Annan Extremely Together Young Leader
Bjørn Ihler is an international counter extremism expert and activist working as a filmmaker, editor and writer to develop spaces for dialogue and peace-building between different people and communities. In 2016, he co-founded the Khalifa Ihler Institute that works for peace through knowledge, technology and design. Since 2016 Bjørn has also been part of the Kofi Annan Foundation initiative Extremely Together, and he explores means of countering violent extremism as one of ten young leaders in the field from across the world. Bjørn is building his work on a foundation in communication, technology, data and computational sociology as well as his academic background in peace and conflict studies.
Shada Islam
Director for Europe & Geopolitics
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica
Parliamentary State Secretary for European Affairs at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Young Leader 2017
Zanda started her professional career at Jurmala’s city council in 1998. She then worked at the Ministry of Regional Development before joining the Strategic Analysis Commission, where she advised Latvian President Valdis Zatlers on strategic planning. She was elected to the Latvian Parliament in 2011. During her mandate, she chaired the Committee on European Affairs and the Reform Party parliamentary group. In 2014, Zanda was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary in the Latvian government. Her role is to ensure cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latvian Parliament and the European Parliament.  
Dharmendra Kanani
Director of Insights at Friends of Europe
Dharmendra Kanani has been in senior leadership roles in the Public and Voluntary sectors across the UK and Europe over a period of 26 years. In 2005, he was appointed as Director of Scotland of the Big Lottery Fund. Subsequently, from 2010 to 2014, Kanani was the England Director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK. Since 2016, he has supported Friends of Europe’s strategic development across all its policy areas with a strong focus on Climate and Energy; Peace, Security and Defence as well as Digitalisation. Prior to this role, Kanani was the European Foundation Centre’s (EFC) first Fellow in July 2014. 
Assita Kanko
Author, politician & founder of #Polin, the political incubator
Assita is a Belgian author, politician and entrepreneur. She is a town councillor in Ixelles (one of the largest districts of Brussels), a popular media commentator, a columnist for newspaper De Standaard and founder of Polin - the political incubator a start-up to help women enter and advance in politics in Belgium. Growing up as a child in Burkina Faso, Kanko underwent female genital mutilation. After immigrating from the west African nation to Belgium, she became one of the most important fighters for gender equality and women's rights. Having initially integrated the liberal party, she has since moved to the Flemish conservative party and aims to maintain her advocacy for fairness. She wrote two books on feminism and the position of women. 
Jesse Klaver
Leader of the Dutch green party ‘GroenLinks’ and Member of the House of Representatives
Jesse currently serves as the green-left party leader in the Dutch Parliament, with a mandate focused on environmental and educational issues. In his time as party leader, Jesse was responsible for the party’s most recent general election campaign during which he gained additional 10 parliamentary seats for the party, rising to an all-time high of 14, and making GroenLinks the fifth most important group in the House. Previously, Jesse was the spokesperson for Finance, Environment and Education and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees. He has publically opposed tax evasion and has co-authored a memo on protecting the Dutch flora and fauna.
Sherin Khankan
Founder of Mariam Mosque
Sherin Khankan is Denmark's first female imam, and Founder of a women-led mosque in Copenhagen, where she aims to provide a more welcoming atmosphere for female worshippers and challenge growing islamophobia and misconceptions surrounding the religion. She is also an activist on Muslim issues including female integration and extremism, and has written extensively on the relationship between Islam and politics. Sherin is a sociologist of religion and philosophy, specialising in contemporary Islamic activism in Europe and the Middle East. Previously, she founded Critical Muslims, an organisation that promotes female Muslim leadership. Sherin has also stood for parliament as a candidate for the Radical Left Party.
Silvana Koch-Mehrin
President and Founder of Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL)
Silvana is the President and Founder of the Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL), a worldwide network of female politicians, which works towards increasing the number and influence of women in political leadership. Silvana is a former MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, working on gender equality among others. In addition to her work for WPL, Silvana is senior advisor to EY Ernst & Young, Senior Policy Advisor to Gplus Europe, and consults on EU regulatory issues to a number of companies and governments.
Michael Köhler
Director of Neighbourhood, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission
Michael Köhler has been Director of Neighbourhood Policy since 2015, in this capacity he is responsible for cooperation with Mediterranean Arab countries and Israel. Since joining the European Commission he has held many positions including Director for the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood in the Directorate General for Development and International Cooperation; Head of Cabinet to the Commissioner for Energy; and Head of Cabinet to the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. He previously worked as a representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Morocco and Tunisia, and in the Policy Planning Department of the Federal Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development in Germany. He has authored numerous books and articles on international Islamic studies and foreign policy. He is also a Professor of Europe and the Mediterranean at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. 
André Loesekrug-Pietri
Lead Joint European Disruptive Initiative (J.E.D.I.) and EYL 2013
André is a former Special Advisor to the French Minister of Defence and Founder, ACAPITAL He has held leadership positions in private equity, government, industry and as an entrepreneur. Starting as assistant to the CEO of Aerospatiale-Airbus, he then spent 15 years in private equity and venture capital, including 10 years in China, investing in European companies with global ambitions. In 2017, he paused from the private sector to become Special Advisor to the French Minister of Defense, responsible for European Defense policy as well as technology and innovation. He is now managing the Joint European Disruptive Initiative, aiming to accelerate France and Germany’s leadership in disruptive innovations. A graduate from HEC and from Harvard Kennedy School, he also attended Sup-Aero aerospace engineering school, and is a private pilot and Colonel with the French Air Force People’s Reserve.   
Adele Luta
Scientist, Eleda International; European Young Leader 2017 (EYL40)
Adele is an expert in strategic cognitive skills, advanced theory of mind, and applied  physics. Her research focuses on operators in time-limited, life-critical, restricted  communication environments and how they employ Theory of Mind (ToM) in their mission. Adele’s previous experience  includes working as a NASA Flight Controller/Astronaut Instructor. In this role she provided support for over 90 US Space Shuttle, International Space Station (ISS), and Russian spacewalks, and trained five Shuttle crews and two ISS increments in Extra Vehicle Activity (EVA). In addition to her current work as a Research Affiliate at MIT, she has also recently been appointed by the United States of America as a technical team member to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Science and Technology Organization through its Collaborative Support Office.  
Rihab Mejri
Civil Society Activist, (YMV)
Rihab is an English teacher and civil society activist. She also co-founded the youth initiative 'Aspire to Inspire', which has organised numerous events for Tunisian youth, the most important of which is an annual spoken poetry event that gives young people a platform to express their concerns and passions in a creative way. As a teacher, Rihab is also in charge of educating and supervising students in remote areas of the country and introduces them to the world of debate. She has been a debater and judge in the Young Arab Voices programme since 2013 and a member of the focus group that helped upgrade the programme into Young Mediterranean Voices+.    Rihab is an English teacher and civil society activist. She also co-founded the youth initiative 'Aspire to Inspire', which has organised numerous events for Tunisian youth, the most important of which is an annual spoken poetry event that gives young people a platform to express their concerns and passions in a creative way. As a teacher, Rihab is also in charge of educating and supervising students in remote areas of the country and introduces them to the world of debate. She has been a debater and judge in the Young Arab Voices programme since 2013 and a member of the focus group that helped upgrade the programme into Young Mediterranean Voices+.  
Ayman Mhanna
Executive Director, Samir Kassir Foundation; MENA Young Leader 2017
Ayman is Executive Director of the Beirut-based Samir Kassir Foundation, one of the leading press freedom NGOs in the Middle East. In this capacity, he oversees the foundation’s advocacy, monitoring, research and training activities. Ayman has previously held the position of Executive Director of the Global Forum for Media Development, focusing on monitoring violations targeting journalists and providing them with the necessary support. He has also extensively worked with issues related to election observation, electoral reform and civil society involvement. Until recently, he was a lecturer on policy development and communications at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. In 2016, he was appointed Secretary-General of the Democratic Renewal Movement, a secular, social-liberal political party in Lebanon.  
Negar Mortazavi
Iranian-American Journalist and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Negar is an Iranian-American journalist covering Iran in English and Persian. She writes, reports and tweets on Iran extensively and is a frequent commentator on Iran at MSNBC, BBC, PRI, New York Times, Aljazeera, Huffington Post, and international outlets across the world in Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland, and Japan. She worked as a TV presenter at Voice of America Persian where she hosted a daily hour-long interactive show that discussed current affairs with Iranians across the world.   
Katarzyna Nawrot
Assistant Professor in the Department of International Economics, Poznan University of Economics and Business and EYL2017
Katarzyna Nawrot is an Assistant Professor at the Poznan University of Economics and Business and a member of the Committee for Future Studies “Poland 2000 Plus”, in the Polish Academy of Sciences. Previously she was a research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2013–2014). Katarzyna was awarded ‘Women of the Decade’ in development economics by the Women Economic Forum in 2018. She recently co-edited the book “The Rise of megacities. Challenges, Opportunities and Unique Characteristics”. 
Rory Newbery
Intercultural Exchange Coordinator, TCFT (The Complete Freedom of Truth)-Europe (TCFT); (YMV)
Rory is a coordinator of intercultural exchange for young artists and cultural producers across Europe and the MENA region at TCFT, which won the EU Citizens Prize in 2015. He is a student of Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies, with a research focus on Cultural Policy in the MENA region. Through his work at local and European level, Rory advocates for increased institutional support for cultural exchange across the EU and wider Euro-Mediterranean region and  works with policymakers and civil society leaders to encourage support for more intercultural opportunities and more sustainable resources for existing youth-led initiatives. With NGO experience across the EU, Morocco & the United Arab Emirates, Rory’s aim is to encourage more young people in rural and post-conflict communities to contribute to civic life and experience new cultures.  
Baha Eddine Obeidi
Co-Founder, Souf Academy; Project Coordinator,YEP project; (YMV)
Baha is a power engineering graduate and Co-Founder of Souf Academy, a social enterprise working on youth employment and entrepreneurship. Committed to youth involvement in policy making and economic development, Baha is part of the Young Mediterranean Voices+ initiative and several other non-profit organisations and initiatives. Baha, a certified Silatech career guidance advisor, is also the current project coordinator of World Learning’s Youth Employment Project in El Oued, where he also serves as a volunteer English teacher and soft skills and debate trainer at Souf Academy Career Center. Baha was chosen in 2017 with seven young people from Algeria to be part of Young visitors Leaders Program led by the U.S. Embassy, a four-week programme focusing on unemployment issues and best practices of managing career centres in Algeria.  
Sana Odeh
Founder and Chair of Arab Women in Computing
Sana Odeh is clinical professor of computer science at New York University, and founder and chair of Arab Women in Computing, the New York City Girls Computer Science and Engineering Conference, and International Hackathon for Social Good. Sana is also an Affiliated Faculty of Computer Science at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) where she set up the Computer Science department and created successful international collaboration projects in Computer Science. Her research focuses on information systems for the developing world and assessing the effectiveness of e-learning systems.
Yousra Qawasma
Programme Development Consultant, The Hebron Youth Development Resource Center (YDRC), Young Mediterranean Voices
Yousra is a programme development consultant and debate trainer at Hebron YDRC Organisation in Palestine. In this role, she is working on developing debate programmes in the city of Hebron. As a result of her good work, YMV staff chose her to be the contact person for Palestine, and she participated in writing the new YMV manual in Tunisia (March, 2018). Furthermore, she is a news editor at Al-Hurriyah Network Agency in Palestine where she covers youth events and activities as well as political and social news. Yousra is also a Dabka trainer (Palestinian Folk- Dance) and regularly teaches people, especially girls, how to dance Dabka. She has participated in many youth conferences, such as the Policy Dialogue with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU Federica Mogherini in Brussels in 2017, and Universities International Musical Festival and Conference in Tunisia in 2012.  
Fadi Quran
Senior Campaigner, Avaaz and MENA Young Leader (EYL40)
Fadi is the face of the new Middle East. As Senior Campaigner at Avaaz, an international online campaigning network, he has been promoting numerous campaigns on issues such as human rights, poverty and conflict, becoming an unofficial leader of the Electronic Intifada. Fadi is also a Popular Struggle community organiser, a policy member of the Al-Shabaka Palestinian Policy Network and a leading figure in the burgeoning Palestinian youth movement committed to achieving freedom, justice and dignity for the Palestinian people, having previously served as UN Advocacy Officer with Al-Haq’s legal research and advocacy unit. Apart from his work in advocacy and international law, he is also an entrepreneur in the alternative energy field, where he has founded two companies bringing wind and solar energy power to Palestine and other countries in the region.  
Soufiyan Saaoudi
Reporter and Founder, Youth Empowerment Society, (YMV)
Soufiyan is Founder of the Youth Empowerment Society (YES) in Tiflet, Morocco and also works there as a reporter. YES is an independent youth initiative, and their vision is based on creating a small society that gathers young people to enable them and to exchange expertise and skills in the domain of debates by spreading the culture of dialogue. They also aim to embed the principles of democracy and gender equality by working on women empowerment projects, such as “Make Your Voice Heard”, which is financed by IRI. He also works as a reporter for the website, IJNET.  
Roba Salaheddin
Pharmacy Student, Lebanese International University, (YMV)
Roba is a pharmacy student at the Lebanese International University who is particularly interested in women's rights and youth empowerment. In 2017, she participated in the EU High-Representative for Foreign Affairs "Regional Youth Policy Forum, as well as the EU Info Soiree in Beirut. Her interests have also led to her participation in the "Arab Feminist Conference" and in the Dafa Campaign, which supports people in Lebanon, whether Lebanese citizens or Syrian refugees.  
Christian Scharling
Youth Activist and Student, Sciences Po; (YMV)
Christian is a youth activist who is currently finishing his second master’s degree at Sciences Po. Having been elected President of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) at age 20, he is the youngest person in history to have held the presidency of a major international political youth federation. From 2014-2016, Christian was an elected member of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, where he worked on young people’s participation and access to local democracy. He also played a key role in the adoption of the first European legal document on young people’s access to human rights, a resolution by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in 2016. Christian is an advocate for LGBT rights, having volunteered for several years with a local organisation in Denmark that empowers LGBT youth. He was recently awarded best orator of the 2018 French rounds of the Jessup.  
Andreas Schleicher
Director for Education and Skills at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the OECD, where he heads the Programme for International Student Assessment, the Survey of Adult Skills, the Teaching and Learning International Survey, and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems. Before joining the OECD, Andreas was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the ‘Theodor Heuss’ prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for ‘exemplary democratic engagement’.
Ibrahim Sorri
Journalist; President, Zarqa Youth Council, (YMV)
Ibrahim is a journalist, coordinator and news director at "ENTIKHABATE Initiative", the Al Waseet Company for Community Development and Awareness, which is a local non-profit organization. He works in the fields of democratic and political awareness in Jordan with a focus on the empowerment of youth and women. In his work, he focuses on simplifying election laws for citizens to ensure that they exercise their right to vote and to monitor the councils they have elected. He is also the president of Zarqa Youth Council (Shadow Municipality Council) to empower young people and integrate Syrian refugees. He recently became a founding member of the Community Protection Network - Zarqa, to reduce violence and extremism. He was also the leader of a campaign that succeeded in revoking article 308 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which exempts a rapist from prison once he is married to the victim. In addition to being a master debate trainer, he seeks to spread the culture of debate in his community. He has participated in many local and international events and won second place in the Jordanian Youth Voices debate championship.  
Paul Walton
Head of the Executive Office and Communication Manager at Anna Lindh Foundation
Paul Walton is Head of Institutional Affairs and Communications at the Anna Lindh Foundation and Chair of the Board of Governors of the British School in Alexandria. Paul began his international career as Founding Director of the Millennium Project Youth 2000 that was commended by the British Prime Minister for its impact on global citizenship learning. He went on to become Executive Director of Global Voice, an international NGO working in the field of education. Paul also lectures on international affairs at the University of Malta's Mediterranean Academy of Diplomacy (MEDAC), and has been interviewed by the BBC, Al-Arabiya, Al Ahram and the New York Times.
Tarik Yousef
Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development programme at Brookings
Tarik Yousef is a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development programme and the Director of the Brookings Doha Center. He has worked extensively in the academic world, as well as in the public policy arena, with experience from the IMF, the World Bank and the UN, and more recently from the NGO Silatech. He is a development expert on the economies of the Middle East and North Africa. Tarik has also served on the advisory boards of development organisations and boards of directors of financial institutions.

Young Mediterranean Voices” seeks to empower young people to enhance a culture of dialogue, to contribute to public policy and shape media discourses, and to create a shared understanding with peers across the Mediterranean on how to address issues of common concern to their communities.
"Young Mediterranean Voices" is coordinated by the Anna Lindh Foundation, in co-partnership with the British Council, Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), Friends of Europe, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid, MEDAC and Soliya, funded by the European Commission and co-financed by the Government of Finland and World Bank Group.

With the support of

Anna Lindh Foundation British Council Center for Mediterranean Integration Club de Madrid MEDAC
Soliya European Commission finland


World Bank Group


eu This activity is co-financed through the European Commission Grant Agreement for Young  Mediterranean Voices (YMV) and part of the “HR/VP Roadmap for Youth Engagement”.

The European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme, led by Friends of Europe, is a unique, inventive and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging the continent’s most promising talents in initiatives that
will shape Europe’s future. As of 2017, the programme has also organised exchanges with young leaders from the MENA region and from the USA and Canada.

With the support of

John S Latsis Foundation Fondazione Cariplo eucom
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