Summer Summit 2018 Lugano, Switzerland

The Forum

25 - 26 August 2018 Palazzo dei Congressi

Welcome to the MEM Summer Summit 2018

Between 16 and 26 August, young change-makers, leaders from the public and private sector, artists, and intellectuals will gather in the south of Switzerland to address recent developments and persisting problems in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.

The MEM Summer Summit:

  • Offers the platform for young change-makers to lay out a vision for their common future
  • Stimulates intellectual and human exchange across borders, cultures and languages
  • Allows for spontaneous face-to-face meetings in a relaxed environment
  • Facilitates friendships, enduring networks, and innovative ideas

The two-phased programme offers a Seminar (16 – 24 August) for young change-makers from the region and a high-level Forum (25 – 26 August), bringing together top-tier speakers with the leaders of tomorrow. This heterogeneous and trans-generational model of exchange is innovative and promotes dialogue between people who do not usually have the opportunity to be in contact.

Accompanying cultural events offer an informal framework to address existing assumptions and develop mutual perspectives through art.

  • Participants of the Seminar were selected in early 2018 through a competitive application procedure
  • The Forum is open to the general public, tickets for the event are available here

Our Mission

The Arab Spring stirred enthusiasm and hope amongst the Middle East and North African youth, promising a more democratic and prosperous future. Seven years on, the situation in many countries has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Inter-religious violence, terrorism and mass migration have an explosive potential to not only unsettle countries in the region, but also their European neighbours north of the Mediterranean. Young change-makers from the Middle East Mediterranean region as a whole must take up the challenge.

The MEM Summer Summit empowers young people with the will and potential to work for the betterment of the MEM region, to evaluate, innovate and develop novel approaches to tackle persisting problems.

The Forum (25 – 26 August)

The MEM Summer Summit culminates in the Forum, a two-day high-level event that brings together leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as intellectuals and artists to meet and discuss with young change-makers. Their ideas and proposals, which were developed during the preceding Seminar, are a starting point for the discussions.

The Forum is an opportunity to meet and exchange, a representation of ideas and solutions from different organisations, actors, contexts and generations. It is a place for inclusive discussions and private meetings, where participants have the ability to shape their own experience by selecting from a multitude of offers.

The Forum will be accompanied by various cultural events. In cooperation with UNESCO, a public exhibition will display the richness of cultural heritage in the region. The city’s cultural centre Lugano Arte e Cultura (LAC) will be the venue for jazz and classical concerts, open to both participants and the general public. We are convinced that cultural engagement offers an ideal framework to address existing assumptions and develop mutual perspectives.

The Forum’s official languages are English and French. Simultaneous interpretation from and into the two languages will be provided.

Programme Preview

The first Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit will involve 150 young people from over 30 countries of the Middle East Mediterranean region and Europe. Organised by Università della svizzera italiana (USI) with the joint support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the meeting aims to develop innovative solutions and concrete opportunities for dialogue and growth.

On 25 and 26 August, at the end of an intense eight-day Seminar, the ideas generated and formulated by the young participants will be presented and debated in the framework of a Forum, open to the public. Forum attendees will include high-level political authorities, experts, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs of the Middle East Mediterranean region. The Forum will be held at Palazzo dei Congressi, Lugano, over two days, with a programme consisting of several thematic sessions, based on a structured presentation of key issues and points for reflection raised during the preceding Seminar. Tunisia, a major crossroads in the Mediterranean civilization, and clear political-constitutional example of a government’s successful policy of integration and coexistence of differences, is the guest of honour at this year’s Summit.

There will be opportunities to explore the geopolitics of the region, to outline scenarios for material reconstruction, and the development of cultural policies; to address the relationship between water, peace, and borders; and to discuss new models of citizenship, energy transition, and education and training as an engine of change. Also on the agenda: the question of infrastructure, of the need to rethink economics; examples of success stories on the ground; and how to promote new and positive narratives through literature and the arts.

Topics and Main Speakers

The Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister, Ignazio Cassis, alongside Prof. Gilles Kepel (USI) and Prof. Safwan M. Masri (Columbia University) will put forward a political and institutional analysis of the situation in the MEM region, examining the close and well-structured relations existing between this region and Switzerland. Particular attention will be paid to Tunisia, which stands out as “an Arab anomaly”. The country’s transition to democracy will be analysed in all the elements that have made its case unique. Sabri Bachtobji, Secretary of State of the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs will address this uniqueness, with the challenges and goals achieved.

Participants will analyse the elements that have made its transition to democracy one of a kind. Strategic matters will be dealt with by influential protagonists and experts in the Middle-Eastern political scene: Philippe Etienne, advisor to the French President Emmanuel Macron; Kamel Akrout, First Counselor for National Security to the President of Tunisia; Pascale Baeriswyl, State Secretary and Head of the Directorate of Political Affairs, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The speakers will outline the political and strategic situation, underlining their role as advisors to major political figures, liable to influence the region’s delicate balance. While used to steering politics from behind the scenes, they will step on stage to give their version of the transition from strategy to political action.

The Syrian conflict has left deep scars on people and their cities, wreaking havoc on homes as well as on any hopes for the future. Reconstructing a society means engaging in concrete action on the ground; but to piece together a peaceful and civilised coexistence requires an effort over the long term, including a programme of specific cultural policies. The Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO Ernesto Ottone Ramírez and the President of Ninevah University in Iraq, Prof. Al-Khyatt will talk about the project designed to reconstruct Mosul, promoted by UNESCO itself in association with the United Arab Emirates. Jean-François Charnier, Scientific director of Agence France-Muséums, will then illustrate the Museum’s universal aspiration and ambition to suggest unprecedented cultural juxtapositions: it is the importance and value of diversity and plurality of languages and cultures that is stressed by the curators in their museum tour, which draws inspiration from the mythological Tower of Babel.

From time immemorial, water supply has been one of the angles from which to interpret geopolitical tensions. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs has promoted Blue Peace, an initiative designed to develop and set up a network worldwide for all sorts of operations concerning water, peace, security, and cooperation undertaken by actors such as universities, cultural and political institutions, diplomacy, civil society and the private sector. The project entitled The Blue Peace Movement: Transboundary Water for Peace and Sustainabilitywill be introduced during a debate involving Prof. Danilo Türk (Chairman, Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace; Political adviser of the Geneva Water Hub, Former President of Slovenia), Lindsey Aldaco-Manner (President of the World Youth Parliament for Water) and Ambassador Pio Wennubst (Assistant Director-General Assistant Director General, Head of the Global Cooperation Department, SDC). 

As a result of the 2011 uprisings, we have witnessed a re-examination and reappraisal of the very concepts and models of citizenship, of the relation between state and society, of rights achieved and rights that are still denied.

A comparison of the various forms of democratic participation may be a useful tool for building a picture of the precarious situation of the different countries in the region and for identifying positive practices to be emulated and, if necessary, applied in different contexts. Prof. Antoine Messarra (a member of the Lebanese Constitutional Council) will present the case of Lebanon, a country with a multi-community society incapable of adjusting to the ideology of a nation-state, adopting instead a pragmatic, day-to-day practice of citizenship. Prof. Jinan Limam (University of Tunis) and Prof. Iqbal Latifi Gharbi (Ez-Zitouna University)will confront each other over a highly controversial topical issue in Tunisia, namely the reform of inheritance law, which is set to grant Tunisian women equal rights in matters of inheritance. Gender equality and equality between secularism and religion are central and crucial subjects in the process of identifying new forms of citizenship and for the new constitutions to be drafted. Prof. Philippe Portier (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris) and Prof. Alessandro Ferrari (Università degli Studi dell’Insubria) will tackle precisely this aspect.

The big changes that have affected the energy sector, where renewable sources are increasingly taking hold, entail further challenges for the region, inextricably bound to the fortunes of fossil fuels. Similarly, these changes have upset the economic model of the so-called “rentier states” and have called for a diversification of their economic activities. The question of economic and energy transition will be addressed by Kamel Ghribi (President of GK Investment Holding Group), by Stéphane Michel (Total), Amer Al-Hinai (Director, Sustainable Energy Research Center, University of Sultan Qaboos), and Paolo Scaroni (Rothschild).

The youth of the Middle East Mediterranean have had more opportunities to study than the previous generations. Yet, they do not seem to be able to find jobs in line with their qualifications. Therefore, investing in education is necessary, though no less important is the need to rethink the degree curricula themselves, furthering student mobility and academic exchanges. These aspects will be discussed by Salman Bal (Chief, Political Affairs and Partnerships Section, Office of the Director-General, United Nations), Badreddine Ouali (Chairman, Vermeg Group; President, Tunisia Foundation for Development) and Cinzia Catalfamo Akbaraly (FIFA, Global Academic Network and Interagency Partnerships).

The future of the region also depends on its infrastructure: some of the countries of the Middle East Mediterranean region are still inadequately provided in this sector, while others do have the necessary resources for undertaking great public works and projects. This vast region suffers from an imbalance, as it comprises, on the one hand, Gulf oil-rich economies and, on the other hand, countries whose natural resources are insufficient to meet the demands of their population (which is the case of Egypt, Morocco, and Yemen). These topics will be tackled by Prof. Xiankun Lu (China’s One Belt Initiative, China-Switzerland) and Almotaz Abadi (Senior Adviser – Managing Director Water and Environment, Union for Mediterranean). 

Several factors and circumstances came together to trigger the 2011 uprisings, though the economic crisis and soaring unemployment rates no doubt played a decisive role. Which is why existing business models must be reviewed, starting from the sector’s operators and professionals. This session will feature Roberto Grassi (Fidinam, Switzerland), Bashar Azzeh (AL Quds Holding Company, Palestinian Territories), Paolo Rotelli (President, San Donato Group, Italy), Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty (Founder and Director of NMC Health, NMC Health, United Arab Emirates), Marouane El Abassi (Chairman & Governor of Banque Centrale de Tunisie) telling their own experience.

While the initiatives undertaken by governments and international organisations do matter, we cannot do without, or replace, the projects and efforts of the NGOs and foundations operating on the ground. Positive models and success stories will be presented by some main actors who have taken up the region’s challenges. These include Teresa Albero (President, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)), Franco Vaccari (President, Rondine Cittadella della Pace, Italy), Stefania Mancini (Vice-President of the Fondation Assistance Internationale-FAI Lugano), Wahid Ferchichi (Tunisian Foundation for Individual Liberties).

One of the chief objectives of the MEM Summer Summit is to encourage new narratives of the region. Paola Caridi, a journalist and an expert in the Middle East Mediterranean, will be in conversation with Suad Amiry. As a writer, architect, and founder of theRiwaq Center for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah, Amiry marries the imaginative and immaterial power of literature with the visionary and material power of architecture. Her best-known books include: My Damascus (2017), Golda slept here (2013), Sharon and My Mother-in-Law (2003). 

The main idea at the heart of the MEM Summer Summit is the role of the new generations: each of these sessions will be steered by the active involvement of the young people who will have examined the discussion topic in great depth and detail during the preceding seminar. Their presence is expected at each of the panels, as they are to act as spokespersons for their claims/petitions and proposals. As was underlined by the Rector of USI, Boas Erez, at the press conference launching the Summit: “We have selected young people active in civil society – medical doctors, veterinarians, students, artists, entrepreneurs, researchers and bloggers, from different cultures and religions – with a view to working with them on innovative proposals. It is an original approach based on dialogue, which enhances the identity of Università della Svizzera italiana, highlighting its natural role of bridge between continental Europe and the Mediterranean.

You can download the full programme of the Forum here:

MEM 2018 – Programme

Speakers 2018

Lindsey Aldaco-Manner_2


President of the World Youth Parliament for Water, USA

Lindsey Aldaco-Manner is President of the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), Research Associate at the Texas A&M Water-Energy-Food (WEF) aNexus Initiative, and an observing board member of the steering committee for the Global Water Partnership. Lindsey holds an M.Sc. in Water Management and Hydrological Science from Texas A & M University (2018). Founder of the young professionals chapter of the Texas American Water Works Association (the Texas A & M Water Network), Lindsey saw its membership grow to 95 members in its first year and received an award for its outstanding membership recruitment in spring 2018. 



President of the University of Ninevah, Iraq

I was born in 1953 in an old quarter in Mosul, a city known for its openness, distinctive traits, history and tolerance. My home was close to the old hospitals of Mosul, the old schools, the Al-Tahera Church and the Great Mosque with the Leaning minaret, as well as the College of Medicine, which was established in 1959. I won the Ideal Student Award in 1975 and graduated from the Medical College in 1977. I was able to combine academic excellence with basketball. I obtained an FRCS degree from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland in 1984 and worked as a specialist until 1989 at various UK hospitals. In 1993, I enjoyed a sabbatical year in field surgery whilst training…



State Secretary and Head of the Directorate of Political Affairs, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland



Journalist and Writer, Italy

Caridi lived in Cairo (2001-2003) and Jerusalem (2003-2012), where she worked as the correspondent of Italian news agency Lettera22 and analyst on Middle East affairs. She is the author of several books and essays on the contemporary Middle East, including: Hamas: From Resistance to Government (Seven Stories Press, 2012) and Jerusalem Without God (American University in Cairo Press, 2017). She also wrote Cafè Jerusalem, a play about Jerusalem, which was put on in Italy from 2015 to 2017. Lecturer at the University of Palermo on History of International Relations, Caridi is also a member of the International Affairs Institute (IAI).



Senior Adviser – Managing Director Water and Environment, Union for Mediterranean, Palestinian Territories



First Counselor for National Security to the President, Tunisia

Mufleh_Al_Alaween_Al_Abbadi _2


Regional Water Advisor, Jordan



President, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Tunisia

Lindsey Aldaco-Manner_2


President, World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), USA



Director, Sustainable Energy Research Center, University of Sultan Qaboos, Oman



President, Ninevah University; Chairman, Advisory Group for the reconstruction of the Province, Iraq



Former Secretary-General, Jordan Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan



Writer and Architect, Founder of RIWAQ, Center of Architectural Conservation in Ramallah, Palestinian Territories


Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland



AL Quds Holding Company, Palestinian Territories



Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tunisia



State Secretary and Head of the Directorate of Political Affairs, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland



Chief, Political Affairs and Partnerships Section, Office of the Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland

Mohammed_Laid Benamor_2


President, CACI – Chambre algérienne de commerce et d’industrie, Algeria


Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland


State Councilor, Republic and Canton of Ticino, Switzerland



Mayor, Lugano, Switzerland



Journalist and Writer, Italy



Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Switzerland



Consultant, FIFA, Global Academic Network and Interagency Partnerships, Switzerland



Scientific director of Agence France-Muséums, France

Marouanne_El _Abassi_2


Governor and Chairman, Central Bank of Tunisia, Tunisia



Rector, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland



Foreign Policy Advisor of the President, France


Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Switzerland



Professor of Law, Tunisian Association of Defending Individual Liberties (TADIL); Vice-President, Tunisian Foundation for Public Administrations Sciences, Tunisia



Professor of Law and Religion, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Italy



CEO, GK Investment Holding Group, Switzerland



Minister Plenipotentiary, Coordinator Euro-Mediterranean Multilateral Activities, Directorate General for Political and Security Affairs, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation MAECI, Italy



Fidinam, Switzerland



CEO, Deutsche Bahn AG, Italy



Professor, PLS Paris Sciences et Lettres-École Normale Supérieure, France; Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland



Professor, Ez-Zitouna University, Tunisia



Professor of Public Law, Tunis Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences, Tunisia



Associate Partner, IDEAS Centre Geneva, Switzerland-China



Vice-President, Fondation Assistance Internationale-FAI Lugano, Italy-Switzerland

Safwan Masri_2


Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development, Columbia University, USA



Constitutional Council of Lebanon, Lebanon



President, Middle East, Exploration and Production Division, Total, France


Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland


Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland



Assistant Director-General for Culture, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris, France



Chairman, Vermeg Group; President, Tunisia Foundation for Development, Tunisia



CEO, Interstar Investment Ltd, France



Director of Studies, École Pratique des Hautes Etudes Paris, France


President, Gruppo San Donato, Italy


Deputy Chairman, Rothschild Group, Italy



Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland



Founder and Chairman, NMC Health, UAE



Journalist, Kenya


Journalist and Former Correspondent, The Economist and Financial Times, UK



Vice President, France-Saudi Arabia Council; Managing Director, Ardian, France

Danilo Türk_Cambridge_1


Chairman, Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace; Political adviser of the Geneva Water Hub, Former President of Slovenia, Slovenia



President, Think-Tank Joussour, Tunisia



President and Co-founder, Iconem, France



President, Rondine Cittadella della Pace, Italy



Institut Français, Safir Lab, France



Vice Director General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Switzerland

Languages and Accessibility

The Forum’s official languages are English and French. Simultaneous translation in English, French and Italian will be provided.

Live Streaming: Part of the Forum will be available in livestream.


Cultural Events

Public Conference with Anissa Helou

Friday, 17 August 2018 / 18:30
Room 3, LAC, Lugano

Born to a Syrian father and Lebanese mother, Anissa Helou is a well-known writer, blogger and chef. Based in London she specialises in Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa cuisine. During her conference, she will talk about food and commensality.

Jazz Concert "Migrante"

Friday, 17 August 2018 / 21:00
Piazza Luini, LAC, Lugano

Brilliant trumpet player, composer and arranger, Giovanni Falzone is one of the leading figures of Italian and European jazz. He defines himself as a migrant, having left his village in the Sicilian province to embark on a journey in search of a new life. He will hold a concert open to the public from 9pm.

Jazz Concert "Mediterraneo"

Friday, 24 August 2018 / 21:00
Piazza Luini, LAC, Lugano

The popular songs from Sicily of the Giovanni Falzone Trio will blend with other sounds of the Mediterranean: from the voice of the Sufi mysticism of the Tunisian Houcine Ataa, to the African percussions of Dudu Kouatè, to the mythical Persian instrument Santur by the Iranian Alireza Mortazavi. The concert is open to the public.

Symphony for Water and Peace

Saturday, 25 August 2018 / 21:00 - 22:30
Court of the City Hall, Lugano

The concert held by the Blue Peace Orchestra is organised in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the City of Lugano. Entrance is free and open to all interested parties with the aim of raising awareness on the issues of peace and water.

Multimedia Installations by Moataz Nasr

25 -26 August 2018
Palazzo dei Congressi, Lugano

The Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr is a painter, sculptor, multimedia artist and cultural activist. His work explores the traditions and consequences of globalisation, questioning the geopolitical and social developments in the MEM region.

The Mountain (Biennale Venezia 2017)

Photo Exhibition 'Journeys through our Fragile Heritage'

July - September 2018
Parco Ciani, Lugano

The photo exhibition 'Journeys through our Fragile Heritage' is showcased on the perimeter area of Parco Ciani. From a project by Wikimedia and UNESCO it highlights the beauty and fragility of our common heritage. It landed in Lugano thanks to the cooperation between the UNESCO chair, founded and directed by Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni, and the Swiss commision for UNESCO.

The secret of change is perpetual engagement, developing new answers to old questions.

Register for the Forum

Registration for the MEM Summer Summit 2018 Forum is available on-site from Saturday, 25 August, from 07:00 at the venue – Palazzo dei Congressi.

Online registration is now closed.


We would like to thank our sponsors for their generosity in supporting the MEM Summer Summit.

New registration fees

The registration fee includes:
• Entrance to the two-day Forum
• Access to all programme sessions: panels, keynote speeches and breakout sessions
• Access to the exhibition area
• Lunch and coffee breaks

Early bird registration

Regular registration

  • Individuals 300 CHF
  • Residents of LMC countries* 100 CHF
  • Residents of LIC countries* 50 CHF
  • Small Group 270 CHF

    (5-20 people)

  • Large Group 255 CHF

    (21-50 people)

  • SWITCH - Faculty / Staff 250 CHF
  • USI & FUS - Faculty / Staff** 200 CHF
  • International Students 150 CHF
  • SWITCH - Students 150 CHF
  • USI & FUS - Students** 100 CHF

*Residents of countries ranked in the categories “Low-Income Economies” (LIC) and “Lower-Middle Income Economies” (LMC), (see full list). Please note that there is a limited amount of tickets with the discounted price for the categories Residents of LIC and LMC countries.

**Università della Svizzera italiana & Franklin University Switzerland

All above prices are per person and are inclusive of Swiss VAT at 7.7 %.


To cancel your registration, please contact the MEM Summer Summit organisers at administration@mem-summersummit.ch.

All cancelled Forum registrations will be subject to a cancellation fee as shown below:

  • Minus 50% for cancellations made before 15 July 2018
  • No refunds for cancellations made on or after 16 July 2018


The Forum of the MEM Summer Summit 2018 will take place in Palazzo dei Congressi and Villa Ciani.

Palazzo dei Congressi

Palazzo dei Congressi is centrally located, right next to the splendid municipal park, Parco Ciani and its villa, directly on the lake shore.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Palazzo dei Congressi is the sun-filled hallways, wide stairways and outside terraces, spacious and ideal for networking between sessions. It is also equipped with the most up-to-date technology, wireless internet access and is fully air-conditioned.

Villa Ciani

The beautiful historical Villa Ciani, located in the park Parco Ciani, has been the location for important exhibitors since 1933. Villa Ciani is built on three levels and has a total of 30 rooms of different sizes. The villa’s architecture lends itself well to small exhibitions, VIP meetings, exhibition of scientific posters and other special events. Direct connection is guaranteed with main foyer of the Palazzo dei Congressi.

Palazzo dei Congressi and Villa Ciani
Piazza Indipendenza 4
6900 Lugano, Switzerland

Accommodation and Transport

Early arrangement of accommodation is recommended since the event is held during the high-season. 

A contingent of hotel rooms has been reserved for Forum participants.

If you are interested in reserving a room, please fill in the booking form (download here) and send it to administration@mem-summersummit.ch. All hotels are within easy reach of Palazzo dei Congressi. Your reservation will be taken care of and an invoice will be sent directly to you via email.


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. 
  • From Milano Linate and from the city centre of Milano, you can take one of the frequent trains to Lugano (about 1h from Milano Centrale Station).
  • Lugano Airport is served by Swiss (Zurich). From the airport, you can take a shuttle to the centre of the city (Shuttle Bus) 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 Gottardo.

Upon request, we can arrange private transportation between your arrival destination and your hotel. Request for transport can be made on the hotel booking form, or writing to administration@mem-summersummit.ch.

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. 

Invitation letters for visa procedures can be prepared upon request: only delegates who successfully complete their registration to the Forum can receive a Letter of Invitation in order to submit a visa application. A VISA letter from the hotel can also be provided, but only for delegates who book through us.

For all visa requests please write to administration@mem-summersummit.ch.

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:




Student Volunteer Programme

Call for student volunteers

The Università della Svizzera italiana is looking for enthusiastic students who are interested in volunteering for the MEM Summer Summit 2018.

The international event will gather young change-makers, leaders from the public and private sector, artists, and intellectuals in the south of Switzerland to address recent developments and persisting problems in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.

Volunteers can get involved in either the Seminar, the Forum or the entire Summit. The selected students volunteering for the Forum will be granted a complimentary registration. Please note that costs related to accommodation and travel are the students’ responsibility.


Applicants should:

  • Be currently enrolled in a Swiss university
  • Have a very good command of English. People with additional language skills are encouraged to apply
  • Have experience in the field of event management, hospitality and communication
  • Preferably, have a keen interest in politics, society and culture of the Middle East Mediterranean region

Benefit from the programme

  • Join cutting-edge discussions and meet interesting figures from the region
  • Work in a dynamic and cooperative team of professionals
  • Have a great opportunity to show your potential
  • Enrich your CV with an exciting experience
  • Receive a working certificate at the end of the event

When not on duty, student volunteers can attend programme sessions, as well as lunches and coffee breaks. If there are specific sessions that volunteers would particularly like to attend, we kindly invite them to inform us, and we will do our best to accommodate their request.

Choose your volunteer experience

  1. Communications volunteer: support our social media team or join on-site communication booths.
    Be on the radar!
  2. Hospitality volunteer: assist high-level guests during the Forum – from politicians to business executives.
    Be up-close!
  3. Event-management volunteer: find solutions, provide answers, and connect people and events.
    Be in charge!
  4. Tech Team volunteer: help with audio/visual issues that may crop up.
    Be tech-savvy!

Application process

If you are interested in applying for the Student Volunteer Program, please contact us at MEM@usi.ch and indicate “MEM VOLUNTEER” in the subject of the email.

We look forward to receiving applications by 30 June 2018!

Contact us

For questions about the Forum, please contact:

For questions about the Seminar, please contact:

For general information about the Summit and the Platform, please contact:

tel +41 (0)58 666 44 55 ext. 2256


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

Code of Conduct

Personal Data Policies