Alexandria, Egypt. From 2-7 May, Earth Charter International in partnership with SHIFT Network (Euro-Arab Youth Initiative) participated in the Euro-Arab Youth Forum in Alexandria. The forum was organized in partnership with an Egyptian youth organization, Shift Network (Euro-Arab Youth Initiative), the Earth Charter International, and UPEACE. Funding for the forum was provided by the Swedish Institute of Alexandria.
European and Arab young people face common challenges about sustainable development, but have very different ways of understanding and viewing it, especially in regards to environmental, economic and social sectors, as well as the achievement of human rights, including access to education, decent employment, migration and gender equality. In this context, the aim for this cooperation is to promote peace and social justice, through stronger cooperation at a bi-regional level by fostering intercultural dialogue and enhancing the exchange of experiences amongst European and Arab youth. To achieve this, sustainable development needs to be placed at the heart of this endeavor and the Earth Charter serves as an ethical framework towards building a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.
The forum was divided into two stages–the first stage included four interactive and engaging online sessions for two hours a week, with the active participation of 15 European and 15 Arab youth, representing over 17 different countries regionally. There were also some excellent guest speakers who joined the programme in our online sessions to share their experiences about intercultural dialogue and how we can apply them in our contexts, including Dr. Amr Abdalla, the University for Peace’s Vice Rector. At the end of the first stage, participants were divided into four mixed groups (Europeans and Arabs) and were asked to develop an Intercultural Youth sustainability project using the Earth Charter as their ethical framework.
During the second stage, the same 30 Arab and European youth, along with 50 other youth representatives from relevant organizations were invited to Alexandria to present their projects with the aim to share and network with each other, as well as exchange ideas and potential funding to get some of the intercultural projects started. In addition to the 80 participants, hundreds of Egyptian university youths from Alexandria participated in the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as some of the workshops throughout the week.
You can find more information and pictures of the forum here .