Summer Summit
Lugano, Switzerland

The Forum

24 - 25 August 2019


The Middle East Mediterranean region is characterised by high political tension, conflicting interests, ruins, climate challenges, and forced migration.

This is how the region tends to be portrayed. A closer look, however, can uncover a different story, of technological innovation and, at the same time, of memory. It is a laboratory for new models of citizenship based on a rich heritage of plural identities, for a peaceful coexistence and a better future together.

The MEM Summer Summit offers a platform for young leaders and change-makers to lay out a vision for their common future. Coming from public and private institutions, non-profit organisations, social enterprises, media, art and culture, they evaluate, innovate and develop novel approaches to tackle persisting problems.

The Summit is designed as an intellectual and human exchange across borders, cultures and languages. It seeks to create friendships, enduring networks, and ideas. It is composed of two parts: an eight-day Seminar and a two-day Forum.

The Forum is the culmination of the MEM Summer Summit. The high-profile two-day event brings together leaders, decision-makers, and intellectuals to discuss pressing issues of the region, ranging from infrastructure to migration. Young change-makers have a unique opportunity for an exchange of views with senior representatives and presenting their ideas. Forum attendees include high-level political authorities, experts, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs of the Middle East Mediterranean region. The programme consists of keynote speeches, discussion panels, bilateral meetings, and opportunities for networking.

The aim of the Seminar is to facilitate discussions and exchange of ideas among young participants considered to be innovators, by providing a favourable environment and neutral guidance for thinking outside the box, finding common grounds, and exploring solutions beyond national boundaries. Challenging questions are posed to provoke bold answers and the quality of debate is ensured by emphasising mutual respect and self-reflection. Learning is believed to be about sharing experiences, active participation and social encounters.

Through a series of plenary lectures, participatory workshops, brainstorming sessions, film screenings, and cultural activities, participants are encouraged to reflect, and discuss topics from the following main areas:

  • New Dynamics of the Middle East Mediterranean Region
  • Middle East Mediterranean Region: Governance, Administration, and Policy Making
  • Middle East Mediterranean Region: Cultural Narratives

The cultural programme offers an informal framework within which to address existing assumptions and help develop mutual perspectives through art, literature, cinema, and music. Culture contributes to identifying new narratives and to providing unconventional and non-stereotypical representations of the region, offering innovative models and examples.


Forum Registration

The Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) organises the Middle East Mediterranean (MEM) Summer Summit Forum to be held in Lugano, Switzerland, on 24 – 25 August 2019.

Registration is free but obligatory.

By registering, members of the public will be entitled to attend for free:

  • The two-day Forum
  • All programme sessions: panels and conversations
  • The exhibition Beyond Conflicts: A Virtual Journey to Syria and Iraq
  • Coffee breaks 


Please note that three languages – English, French, and Italian – will be used during the Forum, with professional simultaneous interpretation throughout.


Taste the difference!

This year, the Forum organisers have devised special lunch menus. The Chef will be using quality seasonal ingredients, blending Mediterranean flavours with local delicacies. By having lunch on the premises, be it a buffet or a sit-down meal, you will be able to continue your conversation in a convivial environment, meet new people, and network further.

So, book yourself in for one or the other lunch option, on either day or both days, and these benefits will be enriched by a unique culinary experience, giving you a chance to ‘taste’ cultural exchange and diversity.

Having registered, book the three-course menu option(s) that suit you best from the following: 

On Saturday:

Standing Lunch served at Palazzo dei Congressi

CHF 40

Gourmet Lunch served at Ristorante Ciani

CHF 90

On Sunday:

Standing Lunch served at Palazzo dei Congressi

CHF 40

It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.


Palazzo dei Congressi

The Forum of the MEM Summer Summit 2019 will take place at Palazzo dei Congressi.

It is centrally located, right next to the splendid municipal park, Parco Ciani and its villa, directly on the lake shore.

Practical Information

By train: Lugano is one of the principal stops on the main European North-South route and can be reached from many cities in the northern and southern part of Europe by direct day or night train connections. Check trains and updated departure times from/to Lugano here

By plane: The quickest way to get to Lugano from most places abroad, will be through a number of airports listed below: 

  • From Milano Malpensa: There are frequent direct bus connections to Lugano (travel time 1hr). These are the main providers operating from Malpensa Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2: GiosyTours, LuganoServizi, and JetBus.
  • Lugano Airport is served by Swiss International Air Lines. From the airport, you can take a shuttle bus to the centre of the city or a taxi. 
  • Zurich Airport: As an alternative you might consider flying to Zurich and use the train to travel to Lugano (overall, a 2h journey). There is a direct, hourly train from Zurich main station to Lugano. It is a chance to experience the longest train tunnel in Europe by passing under the Gotthard.

For citizens of the following countries, only a valid passport is required to travel in Switzerland:

  • Americas (except Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colombia and Peru)
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • Australia and New Zealand

Passport holders from other countries should consult the relevant visa requirements.

The Lugano region is well-known for the beauty of its landscape, lake, mountains and Mediterranean vegetation.

Destinations for half-day trips include Monte Brè and San Salvatore, the two mountains framing Lugano, both of which can be reached on foot or cable car. Bellinzona castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is 30 minutes away from Lugano by train. For further information on day trips, please visit:


Social Feed

[social_board id="4035" type="wall"]

Contact us

For general information about the MEM Summer Summit, please contact:


tel +41 (0)58 666 4950


Please find the MEM Code of Conduct and the Personal Data Policies below: 

Code of Conduct

Personal Data Policies