Università della Svizzera italiana




Summer Summit

Watch the Forum 2022

For the fifth edition of the Summit we were honoured to welcome on the stage and online as our guest speakers HE Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation, HRH Princess Rym Ali, President, Anna Lindh Foundation, HE Shamma Bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, HE Natasa Pilides, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, and many other guests speakers that contributed to the Forum’s insightful discussions. To see them all, watch the Forum 2022. The Forum this year brought forward the following topics:

  • The current geopolitical situation in the region;
  • The energetic transition from fossil fuels and the shift towards renewable energy sources;
  • Food insecurity and climate change;
  • The role of youth in the region;
  • The Middle East evolutions through the lens of culture and arts;
  • Interreligious and interfaith dialogue.

The best of the MEM Summer Summit – Forum 2022

MEM taking part in Le Vie dei Pardi

Watch “Fragments From Heaven”, directed by Adnane Baraka

20 August, 2022

The film projection, organized in collaboration with Locarno Film Festival and the MEM Summer Summit, will take place in Aula Magna, Università della Svizzera italiana at 17:00.

The film projection is a part of the Summit and the young change-makers will have the opportunity to discuss it and talk about cinema in the MEM region with the director Adnane Baraka who is a guest speaker in the Seminar.

Find out who the Seminar speakers are

Discover the list of speakers who will be participating the Seminar 2022

The Seminar will be held from 18 to 26 August and will host 40 young change-makers from over 20 countries. The change-makers will discuss various topics with the speakers, work together and exchange ideas during a series of plenary lectures, participatory workshops, brainstorming sessions, working groups, and cultural activities. 

MEM Summer Summit 2022

The fifth edition of the Summit is taking place from 18 to 27 August

This year’s Summit will take place in Lugano, Switzerland, starting with a nine day Seminar, followed by the Forum on 27 August. Follow us to learn more about participation, programme and opportunities.

MEM at Snack the System 2022

Snack the System 2022 at Casali del Pino, Rome

21 May, 2022

The MEM Summer Summit joined Bites of Transfoodmation at Casali del Pino in Rome, where innovative exhibitors showcased through their future-oriented projects that change is possible and already happening. Visitors explored the realities of drones in agriculture, meat alternatives, edible insects, vertical farms and more.

Snack the System 2022 at House of Switzerland, Milano

6 – 9 May, 2022

The MEM Summer Summit took part in the event, hosted at the Casa degli Artisti in Milan, promoted by Bites of Transfoodmation, with the aim to raise awareness of the main challenges and opportunities related to food in the Middle East Mediterranean region. Dr. Federica Frediani and MEM Alumnus Iyad Al-Qaisi discussed food insecurity in the region and the specific situation of refugee camps during one of the panels. During the four-day interactive exhibition, Iyad Al-Qaisi, presented his project to rethink production, supply and the food chain within refugee camps in Jordan. 

MEM Summer Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai

Workshop and public discussion: Re-thinking food systems. Visions of a new society through the lens of food.

Organized by the Swiss Mission in Rome and Università della Svizzera Italiana (MEM Summer Summit)

Access to healthy and nutritious food is a right, not a privilege. Yet, food systems are getting more complex and food insecurity and water scarcity in the MENA region are two of the key issues of the 21st century. How can we rethink our food habits, shape narratives, and use food as a powerful instrument of cohesion and inclusiveness?

Watch the public discussion online and find out more about the event.

Call for Applications

Apply now to participate in the Summit as a young change-maker

The call for applications is now open. Read more to learn about the candidate’s profile and the application process.

Extended Deadline: 15 May 2022

Social Spotlight

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Watch the Forum 2022

MEM Summer Summit Forum 2022

Welcome and opening address by Lorenzo Cantoni, Deputy Rector, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland
Keynote speech by HE Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation, Switzerland
Keynote speech by HRH Princess Rym Ali, President, Anna Lindh Foundation, Jordan
Keynote speech by HE Shamma Bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, United Arab Emirates

Panel 1 -Geopolitical impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian war on the MEM region

Cinzia Bianco, Research Fellow on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, European Council on Foreign Relations, Italy
Jalel Harchaoui, Associate Fellow, The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Libya and France
Emiliano Bos, Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland
Younes Zangiabaldi, Young change-maker
Chairman: Matteo Legrenzi, Professor, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy

Interview with Talal Al-Aulaqi

Panel 2 – Energetic transition and sustainable development in the MEM region – MEM Summer Summit

HE Natasa Pilides, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Cyprus
Laurent Vivier, Senior Vice President Middle East and North Africa, Exploration and Production, Total Energies, France
Andreas Tornaritis, Young change-maker
Omaima Doukkane, Young change-maker
Moderator: Emiliano Bos, Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland

Interview with Suja Sawafta

Panel 2 – Food insecurity and climate change in the MEM region

Eugenio Dacrema, Early Warning Economic Risk Analyst, World Food Programme, Italy
Tamara Kleibo, Young change-maker
Sebahat Derin Atiskan, Young change-maker
Alaa Alzaghoul, Young change-maker
Chairman: HE Pio Wennubst, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in Rome, Switzerland

Conversation on freedom and tolerance in Islam

Martino Diez, Associate Professor, OASIS International Foundation, Catholic University of Sacro Cuore, Italy
In conversation with
Mustafa Akyol, Journalist and author, Turkey

Conversation on Prognosis: Saudi Arabia – An artist’s perspective

Ahmed Mater, Contemporary artist, Saudi Arabia
In conversation with
Stephen Stapleton, Artist, Social Entrepreneur and Founding Director, Edge of Arabia, United Kingdom

Closing remarks by the Young change-makers

Simone Roncoroni, Young change-maker
Tracy Nehmé, Young change-maker
Boutheina Saidani, Young change-maker

Thanks by the hosts of the Forum Diana Segantini and Zakaria Al-Shmaly, and the project leader of the MEM Summer Summit Dr. Federica Frediani

Play Video

MEM Summer Summit 2021

The fourth edition of the Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit took place, in Lugano from 21 to 28 August 2021, with the support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation.

The third edition of the Summit in 2020 was a great success with its exceptional list of speakers, including the French President Emmanuel Macron who delivered a keynote speech on the importance of the region structured around four pillars: religion, demographics, energy, and politics, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, who underlined the importance of art, culture and education in the fight against inequalities as well as youth and women’s unemployment.

The Middle East Mediterranean region in the current context

2020 will be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the oil price collapse, and one which will have witnessed all sorts of unexpected turmoil, reaching from the Middle East Mediterranean region to the European suburbs. A fragmentation occurs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the one hand, the Abraham Accords are signed, which include the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan, Israel, aggregating Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and with an eye on Iraq. On the other hand, the “Brother-Shia axis” brings together Gaza, Qatar, Turkey, and Iran with the ad-hoc support of Russia. In these seismic upheavals, Beirut explodes, refugees and illegal migrants flock to Europe; the Turkish president Erdogan tries to make Istanbul the global centre of Islam.

Then terrorism strikes again, in France and in Austria, in the name of a jihadism without organisation. It relies on an “atmosphere” created by “instigators” mobilising crowds and social networks in the Muslim world, to avenge their prophet against the West. Meanwhile, Biden is faced with the task of rebuilding the trust of America’s allies.

In 2021, the MEM Summer Summit focuses on these topics and provides instruments for analysing the complexity of the Middle East Mediterranean region; and contextualising its current developments in global history, prompting a broader reflection on contemporary challenges. This ever-changing region has, in fact, a significant impact also on international dynamics, on Europe and its political structures.

The MEM goes on

The activities of the MEM Summit Summit go beyond the Forum and the Seminar. This year the MEM goes on by presenting new initiatives to the change-makers and to the public.

Bites of Transfoodmation

The MEM Summer Summit will go to Rome for Bites of Transfoodmation. The event is organised by the Permanent Representation of Switzerland to FAO, IFAD and WFP, in partnership with Istituto Svizzero, the Swiss Embassy in Rome, Présence Suisse and Università della Svizzera Italiana. The event aims to lay the foundations for momentous changes in the global food systems.

Federica Frediani and the MEM team are contributing to shaping and organising the event, and will be present in Rome. Accompanied by a group of MEM Summer Summit Alumni, they will be taking part as facilitators, speakers and moderators. USI’s Rector, professor Boas Erez, will deliver the closing address at the Dispute with the Swiss Ambassador in Rome, Rita Adam.

Cultural Narratives – New Horizons

The New Horizons Project originated from Stream C of the Seminar. It comprises of online and on-site workshops; a team of MEM Summer Summit Alumni, led by Federica Frediani, come together for discussion and working together over topics like:

  • The mobility of people, ideas, cultures and commodities transcending barriers of space and time;
  • The role of culture and creativity in the process of economic and social reconstruction after Coronavirus;
  • Digitalisation of cultural activities.
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