MED – MEDITERRANEAN DIALOGUES is the annual, high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI (the Italian Institute for International Political Studies) as an opportunity to rethink traditional approaches to the area, to complement analyses of current challenges with new ideas and suggestions, and to draft a new “positive agenda” addressing shared challenges at the regional and international levels.
The 6th edition of MED Mediterranean Dialogues will be held from November 25 to December 4. Over the past five years, MED Mediterranean Dialogues has established itself as a hub for in-person meetings among high-level representatives of governments, international organisations and civil society.
This year, the MED Conference will adopt a “hybrid format” (with virtual and in-person events) to ensure conformity to the highest standards of personal health and safety.
Following on the success of last year’s event, MED Mediterranean Dialogues 2020 is proud to announce a second edition of the “Youth Forum Contest – Ideas and Projects at Work”, implemented in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Italy, the Boston Consulting Group, the European Training Foundation, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The purpose of the contest is to give a selected number of young Mediterranean people the chance to present innovative ideas and projects to a high-level audience in order to promote their work and enhance their visibility.
Participants will have a unique opportunity to present projects that could facilitate dialogue and foster development and cooperation in the broader Mediterranean region. With this in mind, this year’s Youth Forum Contest will promote young leaders whose ideas and projects focus on finding innovative and creative responses to the current pandemic crisis in the MENA region and on supporting post-pandemic recovery.
How the competition works
In 2020, the world has come together to face the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, the Mediterranean region is not exempted from action. With its long history as a creative and pioneering hub, the Mediterranean could well reaffirm its role as a region capable of innovation and inclusiveness. The 2020 MED Youth Forum Contest is therefore looking for proposals that offer innovative solutions to help manage the crisis and to support post-pandemic recovery. In line with the purpose of the contest, all the projects presented should cover topics related to one of the following two areas:
- Culture and Civil society:
- Culture and Education (Inclusive and Equitable Education; the Promotion of Remote Learning; Innovation in Museums and Art Exhibitions; Future Art Ecosystems; the Promotion of Tourism and the Recovery of the Tourism Industry)
- Civil society (Social Protection; Gender Equality; the Prevention of Domestic Violence)
- Health (Immunisation; Prevention and Control; Healthcare Recovery; Mental Health Recovery; Technologies, Biotechnologies and Medical Equipment)
- Business and New Economic Models:
- Employment and Business: (Remote Working and Digital Business Transformation; Reorganization of the Workforce; Reshaping the Customer Experience; Youth and Gender Employment; Work-Life Balance; Financial Inclusion; Poverty Reduction)
- Food and Water Security (Food Logistics and Distribution; the Recovery of Small-Medium Food Production; Agri-Tech Innovation; Social and Economic Access to Food and/or Water)
- Urban Innovation: Rethinking Public and Private Spaces; Travel, Logistics & Transport Infrastructure; Returning to the Workplace; Rethinking Urban Regeneration; Safe and Sustainable Urban Mobility)
The MED 2020 Youth Forum Contest office will accept applications until 30 October [UPDATED from 11 October]. The office will then select the best 20 submissions, 10 for each group. The MED secretariat will announce the results of the selection process to those applicants selected to participate in the Youth Forum Contest in the first half of November.
During the contest:
- All participants will be given a maximum of 5-minutes to present their projects and ideas to a selected audience and to an international panel of experts. The working language is English.
- Once all presentations have finished, the professional jury and the audience attending the event will vote to select a winner for each group.
- The two winners will be awarded a prize of € 2,500 to develop their projects further. In addition to greater visibility and the said monetary reward, participants will also have full access to the MED2020 conference to explore business opportunities and to connect with experts, investors, venture capitalists, and fellow entrepreneurs. They will also be given an opportunity to present the development of their projects to a dedicated panel at MED2021 Mediterranean Dialogues next year.
Applications shall be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Pertinence and Quality of the Contribution (Is the contribution pertinent to the MED Youth Forum Contest’s requirements? Is the motivation relevant to the requirements of the application?)
- Impact on Beneficiaries (To what extent does the project contribute to the development of a community or the region?To what extent does the project meet stakeholder needs?)
- Project Feasibility and Completeness (To what extent is the project feasible? What obstacles could prevent its implementation?)
- Creativity – Innovative Project Content (A qualitative evaluation of the originality of the project. The project’s main objectives and the development and implementation of the concept will be assessed)
- Relevance to the MENA Region (Could the project be implemented in one or more countries of the MENA region?To what extent does the project contribute to creating and strengthening dialogue in the region? To what extent does the project contribute to the development and prosperity of the MENA region? To what extent could the project affect/influence today’s market?)
- Future Vision and Prospects(Does the project address just one specific need, or does it present a broader vision of potential future developments in a country or in the region?)
- Potential Project Development(If its context is currently limited in scope, could the project significantly expand and develop in future?)
How to apply
High-potential candidates aged under 35, from North Africa and the Middle East may apply to enter the contest. Applicants must have an excellent command of English (the event’s working language) and a keen interest in Mediterranean cooperation. To ensure a fairer and more inclusive procedure, candidates from Mediterranean Europe may apply if their projects are run in partnership with institutions and or individuals based in the Middle Eastern or North African countries listed.
Applications must be made using the online form. All applicants should include the following information:
- A short letter of motivation (explaining why they wish to participate in the MED2020 Youth Forum Contest, no longer than 200 words, in pdf format)
- A complete description of their project (using the attached PowerPoint format).
- An updated CV (in pdf format)
Disclaimer: Applicants will be selected at the sole discretion of the MED Youth Forum Contest office, which is staffed by representatives of all partner organisations.
For all further information, please contact the ISPI-MED secretariat at:
Email address: [email protected]
Or: MED Secretariat, ISPI, Via Clerici, 5, 20121 Milan, Italy
 Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Iran.
 Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Monaco, Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Northern Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo.