Summer Summit
Lugano, Switzerland

The Seminar

15 - 23 August 2019

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 aim of the Seminar is to facilitate discussions and exchange amongst 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, lm 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
  • Governance, Administration, and Policy Making
  • Representations, Narratives, and Images

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 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.


Summit 2019 - Call for Application

The Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) organises the Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit to be held in Lugano, Switzerland, on  15 – 25 August 2019.

Application process

The MEM Summer Summit welcomes applications from candidates:

  • aged between 25 and 35
  • from the Middle East Mediterranean region and/or with a demonstrated interest in the region
  • with diverse educational backgrounds and work experience (professionals with careers in business, media, human rights and non-governmental work as well as artists, intellectuals, students and researchers)
  • with interest in intercultural dialogue
  • with the ability to work as part of a team
  • with the will to collaborate and actively interact positively with all participants
  • with a working knowledge of English and French

Closing date for application: Sunday 31 March 2019.

Applications will be scrutinised and appraised, and applicants selected, by a Committee of experts. The successful candidates will be notified via email by  Tuesday 14 May 2019.

To apply click here: https://ycm2019.mem-summersummit.ch

Envision and foster change.

Gallery 2018



Cultural Dimension

Media coverage

All the news about the MEM Summer Summit 2018, covered by RSI (Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana) is available here:


A selection of the media coverage of the MEM Summer Summit is available here:

Social Feed

#Applynow: Are you interested in the development of the Middle ...
MEM Summer Summit 2018 - Celebration Video A Celebration video of the MEM Summer Summit, that took ...
The #Lugano Initiative: five ways for the future of the ...
L’arrivo del Ministro @ignaziocassis al #memsummersummit #lugano
#Young #changemakers #workgroups #MEMsummerSummit, to envision and foster change in ...

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


The Seminar of the MEM Summer Summit 2019 will take place at Università della Svizzera italiana and the Forum will take place at Palazzo dei Congressi.

USI Lugano Campus, Università della Svizzera italiana

The Campus hosts the USI Faculties of Communication Sciences, Economics and Informatics, as well as the University central administrative offices and library.

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.

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 2019.

The international event gathers 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.

Application process

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

We look forward to receiving applications by 01 June 2019.

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