For four days, they worked on project proposals for cooperation on youth employment, gender equality and sustainable development
From 6 to 9 July, six URV bachelor’s and doctoral students participated in the Forum of Young People for the Mediterranean of the Union for the Mediterranean, which for the first time invited young people from 20 countries to share innovative ideas for regional cooperation projects. The 45 youngsters represented various organisations and platforms, including the URV, and worked on projects that the Union for the Mediterranean will evaluate and, if feasible, implement. There were project proposals regarding youth employment, women’s empowerment and gender equality, and climate change and sustainable development.
The aim of the forum is to promote intercultural dialogue between countries on the northern and southern coastlines of the Mediterranean and to create a setting that fosters joint projects. Over the course of the four days, the students learnt about how to conceive and implement regional cooperation projects.
Daphne Jumilla is about to begin the fourth year of her double degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology and is one of the URV students who put herself forward for the forum because of the opportunity to “participate in an event with people from so many countries who help you to see things from other points of view”. Her working group on youth employment proposed the creation of a mechanism that enables young people to bring their ideas to fruition via a digital platform with expert training and mentoring. Marouane Laabbas, a student on the double degree in Law and Labour Relations, decided to join this group because of the subject’s relevance to her studies. She explained that if the Union for the Mediterranean selects the project “we will be able to participate in its design and implementation”.
Anna Sánchez is a doctoral student in the Applications of Technology to Education research group. She also wanted to attend the forum and worked with the climate change and sustainability group. She said that “we propose a platform that connects businesses with society and NGOs so that anyone can introduce the problem that they want to sort out and find a solution in a collaborative manner”. She went on to explain that the University had been invited to get involved because its role in researching and innovating new products means that it can help to solve the needs of society through knowledge transfer.
The 45 young people were also helped by three experts, one for each of the subject areas, who presented each of the challenges on the Saturday. URV professor Santiago Castellà spoke to the students about climate change and sustainable development; Nour Salameh, doctoral student at the URV and currently working on the Gender Programme of the European Institute for the Mediterranean, focused on the theme of gender equality; and Heike Ruettgers, from the European Investment Bank, talked about youth employment.
The group working on women’s empowerment was the first to present its project proposal, which focused on education. Now the proposals have been published, it is up to the Union for the Mediterranean, which comprises the 28 countries in the EU and 13 countries from the southern and eastern Mediterranean, to evaluate the feasibility of the proposals and the capacity of the youngsters’ home institutions to continue the work started at the forum.
The event was organised by the Union for the Mediterranean and Tarragona City Council with the collaboration of the Chair for Tarragona Smart Mediterranean City.