Call for participants:“Empowerment of youth organisations and youth-led civil society initiatives in the South-Mediterranean framework”

PROGRAMME

Date: 22-24th March 2012
Place: Malta

The South-Mediterranean youth policy cooperation of the partnership between the
European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe in the field of youth, the League of Arab
States (LAS) and other actors started in 2005. The cooperation aims at developing a
common understanding and exchange of issues of specific concern for youth policy in
Europe and South Med region. Since 2006, other national and international stakeholders
of youth policy in European and South Med countries have become involved and extended
the framework of this informal cooperation. The activities carried out brought together
youth researchers, governmental institutions responsible for youth policy and nongovernmental
youth organisations in European and South Med countries. Among other
results, the cooperation has supported the process of the Euro-Arab Coordination Meeting
of Youth Organisations (EACMYO), created possibilities for direct exchanges between
South Med and European youth leaders through relevant youth forums, and provided
opportunities for capacity-building of civil society youth organisations through training
courses on human rights education, intercultural dialogue and youth participation.
The process of changes brought about by the “Arab Spring” in various countries provides
the context and drives the need for re-visiting this cooperation. The seminar on
empowerment of youth organisations and youth led civil society in the South-
Mediterranean framework hereby presented, is the first step in this direction: it provides
youth non-governmental organisations and stakeholders the opportunity to reflect upon
recent developments and their implications for the future youth policy cooperation so as to
safeguard ownership of the process among stakeholders and to ensure a sustainable
long-term perspective.
Context
The events in a number of countries in the Arab region since the beginning of 2011 have
imposed a new perception of young people’s capacities and aspirations. As crucial actors
in the processes of political changes, young people have stood up for more freedom,
equality and justice. But they also stand up for better future perspectives in education
and work, economic and social development and participation in the decision making
process.
Young people have legitimate aspirations to be listened to and respected, and to
participate in decision-making about their present and their future and that of their
nations. Youth is demanding a voice in the transition process towards real democracy.
The new political environments need to take into consideration the stronger civic
engagement of young people. Conversely, following the successful mobilisation for
change in the political system, young people and civil society actors need to find
appropriate ways in order to further shape the incipient transition process in the long
term. The present window of opportunity should not close without young people making
sure their interests are taken into account when it comes to the establishment of a new
social order.
Furthermore the role and organisation of youth policy needs to be reviewed.
International youth policy cooperation has also an important role to play.
Despite the obvious differences between the Arab and European regions, it is clear that
both are affected by consequences of globalisation processes. The massive spread of
global communication, and particularly social media, has become a new and powerful
vehicle for young people to get organised and participate, to be informed and to spread
information.
Youth organisations in Europe might be interested to learn from the efficient use of
social networks and online media by youth organisations in the South-Mediterranean
region.
Eastern European countries have a recent history of engaging in political transition
processes towards democratic societies. Their experiences with regard to the
construction of democratic societies and the development of a citizenship and
participation culture can provide an enriching background for the current events the in
Arab countries.
In reaction to the political changes in their Southern neighbouring countries, both, the
European Union and the Council of Europe are strengthening their efforts to support
these developments towards democracy. Young people in Egypt, Tunisia and other parts
of the South-Mediterranean hold the key to the sustainable and peaceful development of
their societies based on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Understanding
and taking into account their expectations and needs is crucial for all the institutional
stakeholders, such as the League of Arab States, national youth policy authorities and
youth organisations. The experience of young people from the Diasporas in Europe and
their role in and perception of recent developments can also positively contribute to this
process.
Purpose
This seminar will focus on the role and status of youth organisations/youth movements
and the young people they work with as crucial actors in the development and
consolidation of inclusive, participatory and pluralistic democracies based on human
rights and the rule of law. Alongside a joint analysis on the impact of youth
(organisations) on the Arab revolutions and vice versa, their role within the resulting
transition process will be the focus of this seminar. In order to come up with wellgrounded
recommendations, young people supported by experts should be given an
opportunity for exchange of experiences and needs assessment in the framework of
working groups. Proposals for concrete projects (e.g. in the field of capacity building) to
be realised by/in cooperation with youth (organisations) should also be discussed in this
framework. A better understanding of the situation of youth and their needs after the
Arab spring as well as of the new emerging civil society actors will ease the preparation
of the forthcoming Tunis symposium on youth participation and contribute to a
meaningful dialogue between policy, practice and research at that event.
Objectives
– To exchange on the current effects of Arab spring on civil society and
develop a shared understanding of the current situation of young people
in the South Med region as well as in European countries and their role in
on-going processes of change;
– To understand the implications of this transition to democracy for the
reality of youth, the youth agendas and for the landscape of youth led
civil society organisations
– To strengthen and support the role of civil society and non governmental
youth led organisations and networks by enabling young people to reflect
on their needs in terms of capacity building and propose joint projects to
be implemented on a long term basis in a wider partnership
Organisers
Maltese Youth Agency a (Aġenzija Żgħażagħ), EU-CoE youth-partnership, League of Arab
States, North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, Euromed Youth Platform.
Date and duration:
22-24 March 2012 (2 working days) (21st arrival, 24th departure for participants, 25th
departure for organisers and stakeholders).
Venue: Malta (details to be confirmed)
Participants:
The seminar will bring together thirty young people from Southern Mediterranean
[MENA] (20) and European (10) youth organisations, facilitators, stakeholders and youth
policy experts from the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Profile and Selection of participants
The seminar should be open for professionals and volunteers closely involved in youth
policy processes in their youth organisations and countries, young multipliers closely
involved in democratic youth movements in their countries, leaders of youth
organisations having an active role in the developments of the Arab spring, bloggers and
youth workers. Furthermore experts from foundations and agencies supporting youth
policy programmes and studies will be invited.
Participants will be selected through an open call and nominated among selected
experts and cooperation partners.
Language: The languages of the seminar will be English and Arabic. Interpretation
will be available for the plenary and also partly for the working groups.

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Application procedure

The deadline for submitting applications: 13 February 2012. Candidates will be
informed about whether their application has been accepted or rejected, and if they
have put on the waiting list, by 21 February 2012.
All those interested in applying to take part in the seminar are kindly requested to fill in
their application on-line at:

http://youth-partnership-eu.coe.int/youth-partnership/seminars/seminar_16.html
If you face any difficulty with the online application form, please contact the person
below.
Interested persons residing in Arab countries should direct their requests for
application to the League of Arab States on the following e-mail address:
youth@poplas.org, admin@poplas.org

Further information:
Council of Europe member states: viktoria.karpatska@coe.int
League of Arab States countries: admin@poplas.org; youth@poplas.org