Università della Svizzera italiana

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The Forum

Watch the Forum

Watch the MEM Summer Summit Forum 2020:

To watch the version in Italian, follow the Forum on the website of Radiotelevisione svizzera RSI: 

https://www.rsi.ch/live-streaming/cultura/MEM-Summer-Summit-Online-13348974.html#

 

See the Forum programme below.

The Forum online

Days
Hours
Minutes

New Format

This year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, the Summit cannot be held as planned. The circumstances have understandably imposed a review of the format of the MEM Summer Summit 2020.

The Forum has been transferred online. Find the full programme of the Forum below.

 

Overview

The public event aims to brings together leaders, decision-makers, entrepreneurs, scholars and intellectuals to discuss pressing issues of the MEM region. Topics range from new geopolitical configurations to migration dynamics, through security in the Mediterranean health and food systems, endangered cultural heritage, to Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, and municipalities in the region.

Young change-makers have a unique opportunity for exchanging views with senior representatives and experts, and presenting ideas and project-proposals elaborated before the Forum.

Forum Programme

Download the full Forum programme here: MEM Summer Summit 2020 Online Edition – Forum Programme

Language

English and French, with Italian subtitles.

The Ambassador of Switzerland to Lebanon gave an account of the current critical situation in Lebanon, a country overcome by a complexity of issues: catastrophic economic conditions, deep political crisis, the COVID-19 emergency, and now the horrendous blast that has devastated the capital. The Ambassador reported on support initiatives and projects promoted by Switzerland.

The French President Emmanuel Macron, in a video message, spoke about the importance of the region and its political balance, focusing on the conflicts in Syria and Libya and the crisis in Lebanon. The analysis of the French President – invoking for collective responsibility to find shared solutions – is structured around four pillars: religion, demographics, energy and politics.

In recent years, and in recent months, the Middle East Mediterranean region has been torn apart by civil wars and uprisings affecting all its nations. As protest movements (manifestations of the populations’ unrest) intensified, the Western powers’ interest in, and concern for, the region seems to have gradually weakened and died out. The retreat of the West – a concept summed up in a new coinage, “Westlessness” – has produced new pacts and new equilibria. This complex issue was at the heart of a discussion by politicians, scholars and researchers from areas where these new lines of understandings are emerging and taking shape.

Maha El-Adawy provided an overview of the COVID-19 health emergency in the Middle East Mediterranean region. As the area is so extensive and heterogeneous, Dr El-Adawy spoke about countries with rather diverse situations, such as Iran and Yemen to mention but two. She also highlighted the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic for the most vulnerable classes of the population – the poor and women in particular.

The COVID-19 health emergency and the containment measures put in place by the various countries worldwide have brought about, as is well known, a collapse in oil prices. This had a knock-on effect on the economy, as well as on politics and society. Some will argue that the sun may be about to set on the undisputed power of Middle Eastern petromonarchies. In this context, Libya, ripped apart by internal tribal divisions and very much the focus of international interests, provides fertile ground and matter for reflecting on the present and future of oil producing countries. The panel is made up of speakers from the oil industry and shipbuilding. They all contributed, from their expertise, to outlining the current situation and possible future scenarios.

Pio Wennubst talked about “Bites of Transfoodmation”, an initiative launched and run by the Permanent Representation of Switzerland to the FAO, IFAD, and WFP. The event will take place in Rome on 20—24 October and bring together highly motivated and innovative young people to reflect on the future of food systems. The Middle East Mediterranean region, where food and its production play an extraordinary cultural and socio-economic role, is badly affected by climate change, by growing urbanisation, and escalating primary goods prices.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, underlined, in her video message, the importance of art, culture and education to fight inequalities as well as youth and women’s unemployment in the Middle East Mediterranean region. She spoke about the initiatives promoted by UNESCO during the pandemic.

This panel reflected on the challenges and opportunities faced by art and culture in the Middle East Mediterranean region. The presence on the Panel of a plurality and diversity of voices and artists, and of UNESCO’s cultural director, mirrors the complex, fragile and powerful nature of the region’s artistic and cultural production. The ‘prognosis’ formulated by Ahmed Mater for Saudi Arabia stems from an analysis where personal experience and history of the region converge at a time of momentous change. With his Jardin d’Afrique, Rachid Koraïchi creates a hallowed space where migrants who met their death in the Mediterranean may be remembered; a sacred space in which to review relations between Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe. Lazare Eloundou Assomo, for his part, through the Resiliart programme, speaks on behalf of the authorities of a major cultural institution and on the debate initiated during the pandemic on the resilience of art. The panel discussion was be chaired by Diana Segantini, who in 2019 held the position of Chief Heritage and Culture Officer at the Diriyah Gate Development Authority in Saudi Arabia.

The MEM Summer Summit Alumni and young change-makers have contributed in several ways to the organisation of the MEM Summer Summit Forum 2020.

Some of them sat on panels as representatives and spokespersons for the whole group; some prepared video-testimonials, and others still participated actively in the panel debates, live by video-link, from their home countries across the Middle East Mediterranean region. Nour Nasreldin has devised and directed Muted city, a short film on the lockdown in Cairo, due to be premiered during the Forum.

Speakers

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IGNAZIO CASSIS

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

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EMMANUEL MACRON

President of the French Republic, France

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AUDREY AZOULAY

Director-General of UNESCO, France

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MONIKA SCHMUTZ KIRGÖZ

Swiss Ambassador in Beirut, Switzerland

Pio Wennubst

PIO WENNUBST

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

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BOAS EREZ

Rector, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland

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MAHA EL-ADAWY

MD and Director, Health Protection and Promotion, WHO Office Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt

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YASMIN EL HABAK

Young change-maker

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LAZARE ELOUNDOU ASSOMO

Director, Culture and Emergencies, UNESCO, France

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LUCA FASANI

Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland

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NASSIF HITTI

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Lebanon

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GILLES KEPEL

Professor and Scientific Director of the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland; PSL Paris Sciences et Lettres-École Normale Supérieure, France

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RACHID KORAICHI

Artist, Algeria

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ANDREY KORTUNOV

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Russia

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GIAMPIERO MASSOLO

President of ISPI (Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale), President of Fincantieri, Italy

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AHMED MATER

Artist, Saudi Arabia

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PAOLA NURNBERG

Journalist, RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, Switzerland

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DIMITRIOS PAPACHRISTOU

Young change-maker

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PATRICK POUYANNÉ

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Total, France

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MUSTAFA SANALLA

National Oil Corporation, Libya

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DIANA SEGANTINI

Advisor for Arts, culture, heritage and media, Switzerland

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CLAUDIA SOSAI

Young change-maker

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SOFIA VOLPI

Young change-maker

Pio Wennubst

PIO WENNUBST

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

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CLAUDIA SOSAI

Young change-maker

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: The S50 is the train line that connects Lugano and Malpensa. Check trains and updated departure times here. Direct bus connections to Lugano are available on demand. To make a reservation contact Giosy Tours at +41 79 133 53 23. 
  • 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.

Please note that the general visa and entry procedure is described in detail in this information sheet.

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

For further information: https://www.luganoregion.com/en

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