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French Version

Lebanese youth to practice Euro-Med governance

Young Lebanese citizens will have a chance to debate major issues with their counterparts from the European Union and other Mediterranean countries at the first Euro-Mediterranean Youth Parliament (EMYP).

The EMYP, which will be held in Berlin between May 26 and June 3, will gather 102 young attendees from the 27 EU states and youths from 12 southern Mediterranean states (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Mauritania and Libya).

Youths in Europe have been participating in the European Youth Parliament for 15 years. But according to the coordinator of the Lebanese team, Abdallah Annan, "it is an idea unknown until now in Lebanon."

Annan said he hopes it will become an annual event and that a Youth Parliament will be established in Lebanon as well.

The EMYP is part of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement, which resulted from a partnership established in the course of a conference of foreign ministers in Barcelona in 1995. The EMYP intends to promote dialogue and build relationships between young adults from countries in the EU and the south Mediterranean.

According to the Goethe-Institute, the event will foster a spirit of diversity, dialogue and solidarity. Its vision to "overcome prejudice and build bridges" should assist in the broader aims of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement.

The German Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Goethe-Institute and the Heinz Schwarzkopf Foundation, in cooperation with the European Commission and the Anna Lindh Foundation for the dialogue between cultures have made this event a reality in 2007, Annan told The Daily Star.

A panel discussion titled "New Generation - New Perspectives: An Introduction to the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Parliament" was held Wednesday evening at UNESCO Palace. For the public, this event was a chance to meet the youths who will represent Lebanon at the EMYP. Journalist Mayssa Awad hosted the animated discussion.

Annan said the panel also served as the "first introduction of the concept of a youth Parliament" to the public.

He added that "many of the guests tonight are from civil society and NGOs," whose participation he said would enhance the youths ability to represent Lebanon in Berlin.

The Goethe-Institute in Beirut received 70 applications from youths wishing to represent their country in Berlin. The selection process whittled the group down to four delegates and two reserve candidates.

The four delegates are Randy Nahle, Nora Mokdad, Sara Mourad and Bernard Sadakaa. During a week-long preparatory conference for the southern Mediterranean delegates in Alexandria, Egypt, in March, another Lebanese delegate, Nadar Houella, was selected as the mediator for the EMYP.

The participants will work in committee groups dedicated to specific issues and will reconvene to agree on common resolutions, similar to any other Parliament. Topics up for discussion this year include migration, employment, globalization and corruption.

Beirut 19-04-2007
The Daily Star

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