The context
and our objectives

"Youth is the future", we tend to repeat as a slogan rather than as a real programme. Indeed, it is! It is estimated today that 60% of the population of the Mediterranean basin is under 35 years of age.

A damning observation

However, young people are the category of the population that accumulates the most fragility and difficulties in terms of social and economic integration. They are on the front line, and often alone, in the face of many challenges: unemployment, obstacles to mobility, access to culture, artistic creation and climate change. Moreover, young people are often left out of positions of responsibility and decision-making in economic, social and political life. We also note that young Mediterranean people are not very involved in political parties and that they constitute the part of the population that participates the least in elections in their respective countries. 

the situation of young people across the region has deteriorated dramatically in recent years.

Significant inequalities

Condemned to suffer precariousness rather than live out their aspirations, young people are nevertheless the main vectors of social change. It seems urgent to hear their voices, their aspirations and their dreams.
These young generations are those of social networks and exchanges across physical or imaginary borders; they inform themselves and see what is happening in the neighbouring city, country or continent. Cultural references intersect, interact and mix. Although the Mediterranean borders are closing one after the other, there is no house arrest for exchange, no visa for knowledge.
What do young Syrians, Lebanese, French, Moroccans, Palestinians, Italians, Portuguese, Jordanians, Turks, Algerians, Egyptians, Spaniards, Libyans, Maltese, Cypriots, Tunisians, Greeks have in common, if not to be part of the same era? To look towards the same sea, where opportunities as well as challenges seem to be linked to each other, when they are not common?
From East to West, from South to North, similar aspirations run through our societies. In the streets of Tunis and Cairo, in the squares of Madrid and Paris, a section of young people have, in recent years, expressed their desire for a more equal and fairer society. Through associations and collectives, thousands of young people are getting involved. They share their practices, their aspirations and a common desire to participate. 
Paradoxically, there are few spaces today that allow young committed Mediterranean people to leave their territories, to meet, to share their observations and experiences, to build common projects at the Euro-Mediterranean level. The Med Youth network was created to respond to this situation.
Significant inequalities

Objectives of Med Youth

A network of committed young Mediterranean people: why do it?
The Med Youth network is a space of inter-knowledge, free speech and construction of common citizen projects, open to all young Mediterranean people who are committed to defend equality between all, solidarity and social justice in their territories. It intends to create bridges between our different countries in order to build common solutions to the serious current challenges, for a future of peace in the Mediterranean.
On a daily basis, it supports the networking and engagement of young Mediterranean people in public life at several levels:
- by providing young people with tools and networking spaces to enable them to learn from the experiences of other territories, to develop partnerships and to promote their actions at the Mediterranean level,
- by supporting the emergence of common findings and strategies on issues that they share so that they are able to carry out joint awareness-raising and lobbying actions,
- by supporting the construction of multi-country citizen projects, initiated and led by young people
The Med Youth network is an independent civil society network that brings together 250 young people from 17 countries (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey) around the issues of employment and vocational training, civic participation, mobility and migration, freedom of expression and creation, and environment(see our issues). It brings together young project leaders and representatives of social organisations around common values(see our values) and the same desire to build a common future in which young people have their rightful place.
In 2015, the REF - Réseau Euromed France( launched the "Mediterranean Youth" project, which has brought together many committed young Mediterranean people each year. A first meeting in October 2015 in Paris laid the foundations for a Euro-Mediterranean dialogue on youth. The April 2017 meeting in Casablanca gave around eighty young people from around the Mediterranean the opportunity to take stock of the challenges facing young people in the Mediterranean. In April 2018, Algiers hosted a new "Mediterranean Youth" meeting entitled "Update on innovative practices for Mediterranean youth". The "We Act, React" meeting, held in Tunis from 25 to 27 April 2019, marked the final stage of the first phase of the project and focused on advocacy issues. All this dynamic of common reflection allowed the emergence, in 2020, of the Jeunesses Med network.
This year, before the annual meeting in Marseille, several times of collective work, animation and development of web tools, were set up between May and November 2021 (cycle of thematic webinars, setting up of a website, poster contest, regular COPIL meetings) to overcome the difficulties linked to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 crisis while maintaining the members of the network and its governance active. Subsequently, the fifth meeting was held from 24 to 27 November 2021 in Marseille, and brought together nearly 80 participants from 15 countries.

Federative and participative

A federative and participative network, including young people
in its governance and putting their expertise in the spotlight

The Med Youth network is coordinated by the REF and animated by a steering committee made up of 17 representatives of associations or project leaders committed to youth(list of COPIL members). The stakes are high, since the aim is to involve young people in the governance of this network. This steering committee is therefore in charge of defining the annual thematic priorities, the cycle of activities, the selection of participants for each of these activities, the preparation of the content and the running of the workshops. In this way, the development and orientations taken by the Jeunesses Med network are in line with the concerns and aspirations of the young people involved.
This dimension also has a strong pedagogical aim, as it allows to enhance and strengthen the local knowledge and practices of the young participants on a regional scale, to push them to express themselves publicly, and to reinforce their self-confidence. All the activities of the Med Youth network are prepared and led by young people. Experiences led by young people at the local level are strongly promoted within the network, through a choice that was made from the beginning of the project, to give the floor in the forum and in the workshop only to young people under 35 years old. 
The Med Youth network associates to its activities associative and institutional actors of the region sensitive to the same issues, in order to increase its impact and visibility. Each year, it develops strong partnerships with local actors in order to reinforce the anchoring of each project activity in the territories. The network's cycle of activities is also an opportunity for the young people in the network to get to know the specificities of the Mediterranean.(list of associative partners). Many institutional partners have also supported the development of this network over the years and we warmly thank them!(list of institutional partners)

Common issues

A multilateral project around common issues that affect all young people, whether they are from the North or the South
The Med Youth network has the specificity of setting up common dynamics and bridges between the two shores, whereas the vast majority of programmes and initiatives aimed at young people focus on the southern shore of the Mediterranean basin only. Building peace in the Mediterranean requires, in our opinion, the construction of solidarity links between all countries sharing the Mediterranean Sea.
The Med Youth network is also an independent network, which works with all types of actors (associations, isolated young people, communities, governments, etc.) but whose governance remains perfectly autonomous, which allows it to involve all types of young people and to offer them a free and secure space to speak. 

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