“The Mediterranean is a place where there is an incredible diversity of cultures, and this diversity is a richness because it has built values of tolerance through the ages.”, Hatem Attalah shared with the participants in the International Summer Academy for leaders of the Euro-Mediterranean region. The Executive Director of Anna Lindh Foundation, the largest foundation in the Mediterranean region, that has as a member Bulgaria, was a lecturer during the second day of the Academy for Political and Civic Society Leaders from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Bulgaria that is held in Pravets. Ambassador Attalah talked about the ability of societies to address the problem with differences and inequalities and to create identities. He advised the participants to preserve their cultural differences, because if they lose them, there will be little to learn from each other. Hatem Attalah paid special attention to the role of young people and education in addressing the challenges that are facing the Euro-Mediterranean countries. According to a recent study by the Anna Lindh Foundation in 13 Euro-Mediterranean countries, over 80% of respondents believe that the way to tackle today’s challenges is through educational and youth driven initiatives. Hatem Atallah also said that over 70% of the population in the Southern Mediterranean is young people. Therefore, young people want to be part of the decision-making process and not someone else to make youth policies for them. He ended his speech with the words of French President Jacques Chirac: “There is no clash of civilizations, but a clash of ignorance.”
Professor Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Chairmen of the International Relations Department, Director of the Center for International and European Studies at Kadir Hass University in Istanbul was also a lecturer during the second day of the forum. He shared with the participating 21 young leaders his vision of the changing neighborhood and the common solutions to the security issues and extremism that the European Union and the Maghreb countries must find.
The famous TV journalist Boyko Vassilev put an end to the second working day of the Summer Academy by giving very practical advices and examples how political and civic leaders should behave and talk during a TV debate. The participants had the opportunity to check what they had learned from him by participating in a TV debate simulation.