Università della Svizzera italiana




Summer Summit
Lugano, Switzerland

The Seminar

20 - 28 August 2020

The Forum

29 - 30 August 2020

Welcome to the MEM Summer Summit 2020

The Middle East Mediterranean (MEM) Summer Summit was launched by Università della Svizzera Italiana in 2018.

Every year it gives us great pleasure to host more than 100 young change-makers from over 30 different countries along with around 100 speakers and distinguished guests. 

Apply now to attend the third MEM Summer Summit. We very much look forward to welcoming you in Lugano.


The Summit will start in


The Idea

The Middle East Mediterranean region, a geopolitical space deeply affected by disorder and convulsions both on land and sea, has undergone profound and rapid changes over the past few years. From upheavals of this magnitude, a new world order has emerged for the twenty-first century. From East to West, North to South of the extended Middle East Mediterranean region – from Iran to Algeria and from Syria to the Sudan – several elements of young civil societies are working together across the political spectrum, weaving the threads of dialogue, civic liberties, and sustainable development. Such initiatives are not necessarily in the media spotlight, but together make up a major network from which tomorrow’s social fabric will emerge. It is a phenomenon that Europe must welcome and encourage, if only to ensure its own security in an area of shared prosperity with its southern neighbours.  It is precisely with this in mind that the programme of this Summit was conceived.

The Summit – designed as an intellectual and social exchange across borders, cultures and languages – is composed of two parts: an eight-day Seminar and a two-day Forum. The emphasis is on the need and ambition to pursue an incisive analysis and reflection on the complex challenges facing the extended Middle East Mediterranean region.

Our main objectives are:

  • to offer a safe space for dialogue between young change-makers from the Middle East Mediterranean region where to lay out a vision for common future of the region, by starting from the present
  • to build a common ground and intergenerational exchange between young people and decision-makers, public and private institutions, non-profit organisations, social enterprises
  • to develop novel approaches to tackle persisting critical issues
  • to act as a breeding ground for developing across border and multilateral project proposals
  • to initiate collaboration and start networks among several actors in the region


Applications for the MEM Summer Summit 2020 are now closed.

The MEM Summer Summit welcomes applications from candidates:

  • aged between 25 and 35
  • from the Middle East Mediterranean region and Europe and/or with a proven interest in the region and engagement in the society
  • 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). Multidisciplinarity and heterogeneity of experience are enriching and crucial to approaching the complex issues from plural perspective
  • interested and willing to work on project-proposals with an across border approach with participants coming from all over the region
  • with the ability to work as part of a diversified team
  • with a strong knowledge of English; knowledge of French is an asset

Application requirements

Applicants must submit a complete application on the online YCM platform (to enter, click the button below).

In addition to completing the forms on our platform, applicants must upload the following documents:

  • A Letter of Intent of no more than two pages describing current interests and plans in the MEM region, suggesting how the MEM Summer Summit may help further those interests and plans
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae
  • A short introduction video in English (up to two minutes long), in which the applicant introduces themselves, briefly state why they are the right candidate and how they can contribute to the Summit
  • The names and contacts of two referees

Closing date for application: Wednesday 15 April 2020.

Applications will be evaluated by a Committee of experts. The successful applicants will be notified via email by 15 May 2020.

Tuition fees for the MEM Summer Summit 2020 are CHF 2,300 a head. This includes plenary sessions and workshops of the Seminar, panels of the Forum, all cultural activities during the Summit, lunches, and coffee breaks. It does not include: travel costs, accommodation, visas, health insurance, and dinners.

The MEM Summer Summit offers a limited number of partial or full grants for participating in the MEM Summer Summit 2020.

  • Full grants cover travel, accommodation and tuition fee
  • Partial grants cover tuition fee and/or accommodation

Priority will be given to covering the expenses of citizens from low-income countries or with proven financial needs. Applicants may apply for a grant by uploading a grant request letter on the YCM Platform (https://ycm2020.mem-summersummit.ch) by Wednesday 15 April 2020.


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Streaming of the Forum 2019

Day 2 – 25 August 2019

Day 1 – 24 August 2019

Media Coverage

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


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

The Lugano Initiative

The Lugano Initiative, a document put together and written up by the young change-makers during the MEM Summer Summit, collects concrete proposals for development and growth in the MEM region. Some 100 young change-makers worked together across cultural differences and national identities.

The Lugano Initiative – MEM Summer Summit 2019

The Lugano Initiative – MEM Summer Summit 2018

YCM Network

An on-line platform has been created for the exclusive use of change-makers. There, they can apply and find material for the preparation of the Summit along with the detailed programme of the Seminar and the Forum. The project-proposals, developed during the Seminar, are available on the platform where it is possible to leave comments and interact with other participants. Visit the young change-makers platform at:


A MEM Summer Summit Alumni group has been created on Facebook for all young change-makers, past and future, to be in touch:



Università della Svizzera italiana, West Campus Lugano

The Seminar of the MEM Summer Summit 2020 will take place at Università della Svizzera italiana, West Campus Lugano. The campus hosts the Faculties of Biomedical Sciences, Communication Sciences, Economics and Informatics, as well as the University central administrative offices and library.

Palazzo dei Congressi

The Forum of the MEM Summer Summit 2020 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.

Volunteer Programme

Call for volunteers

The call for volunteer applications for the MEM Summer Summit 2020 will open on Monday, 1 June 2020.

The Università della Svizzera italiana is looking for proactive people interested in volunteering for the MEM Summer Summit 2020, to be held on 20 – 30 August 2020 in Lugano, Switzerland.

Volunteers play an important role in supporting the MEM Summer Summit and are key to creating a positive and welcoming atmosphere for the young change-makers, speakers and guests while assisting the team in the smooth and professional running of the ten-day event.

Volunteers can get involved in the entire Summit, or in either the Seminar or the Forum.


Applicants should:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Preferably, be enrolled in a Swiss university
  • Have a very good command of English (additional language skills are a plus)
  • Preferably, have a keen interest in politics, society and culture of the Middle East Mediterranean region
  • Have a genuine interest in or some experience of event management, hospitality and communication

Personal and professional growth

By acting as a volunteer at the MEM Summer Summit, you will enrich your CV with an exciting experience. At the end of the event, you will be issued with a Certificate of attendance mentioning the tasks you completed and responsibilities involved. Students of USI’s PMP, MEP or MEPIN degree programmes may obtain credits from the Volunteer Programme.

Volunteers can make the most of the opportunity to work in a dynamic and cooperative team of professionals, build hands-on experience from observing what goes on behind the scenes of an international event, get inspiration for their future, and enrich their personal cultural baggage.The Volunteer programme offers learning and networking opportunities within an international environment: speakers and guests from NGOs, governmental institutions and prestigious universities.

Please note that accommodation and travel are not covered, hence have to be borne by the volunteers. However, food and drinks will be free for volunteers while on duty; and the official MEM Summer Summit shirt they receive remains their property.

How to apply

If you are interested, please send a copy of your CV and a motivation letter to the following address: MEM@usi.ch specifying “MEM Volunteer Programme” in the subject.

The application deadline is Saturday, 4 July 2020.

Contact us

General Information

tel +41 (0)58 666 4950

Partnership and Sponsoring

tel +41 (0)58 666 4927


Please find the Personal Data Policies below: 

Personal Data Policies

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