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Government, education and institutions in the Euro-Mediterranean region need to do a better job of including young people in order to forge a better future. Art and education can help. Amid widespread discontent, there are signs of hope.
That’s a broad generalisation of the message from a two-day conference held on 22 and 23 May in Brussels. The event brought together Young Mediterranean Voices from the Anna Lindh Foundation and some of Friends of Europe’s EYL40 Young Leaders. Speakers included Abdelbasset Ben Hassen, President of the Arab Institute for Human Rights; Michael Köhler, Director of Neighbourhood, European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations; Elisabeth Guigou, President of the Anna Lindh Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue and former Minister of Justice of France; and Sherin Khankan, Denmark's first female imam, and founder of the women led Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen.
The European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme was launched in 2011, with the goal of bringing together 40 of Europe’s brightest minds every year – aged 40 and under – to debate challenges facing the continent and search for solutions. The programme was initially conceived by Friends of Europe in partnership with EuropaNova.