The Med Fest, the melting pot for political dialogue and young new voices
A 2-day event which brought together experts, artists and activists from different fields, aiming to create a space for debate, to share experiences and to build alternatives for a better future in the Euro-Mediterranean region. When it comes to the future, who would be better suited than young people?
During the 23rd and 24th of November, we celebrated the 1st edition of The Med Fest. All activities organized by the FNF Madrid office were focused around young people. And why Youth as a main focus for this 1st edition? Youth is a fundamental political and social change actor towards the construction of alternative and liberal voices in the future. FNF Madrid decided to put in place an innovative Festival format to show that politics can be fun, to give space to new and young voices in order to create positive vibes in the Euro- Mediterranean community!
The first day of the Festival included roundtable discussions around topics such as energy, migration and climate change, bringing together experts and stakeholders to debate and create opportunities.
Climate change and migration
The Expert Roundtable on climate change and migration brought together experts, journalists, representatives of think tanks and members of the migration policy group, for the preliminary presentation of the study “Climate change as a cause of flight today: understanding factors, developing opportunities in the Sahel Zone, West Africa and the Maghreb” that the FNF Madrid office is carrying out together with the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed).
Climate variations in the regions, climate change as a source of human displacements and as a risk multiplier in human displacement in West Africa and the Sahel region, were the central themes addressed by the researchers in charge of the publication: Matías Ibáñez, Programme Officer of the Sustainable Development and Regional Integration at IEMed; Amal El Ouassif, International Relations Specialist at Policy Center for the New South; Anna Ferro, Senior Manager Migration and development at CeSPI- Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale and Xavier Aragall, Programme Manager of the Euromed Survey at IEMed.
The study will be published in 2023 and will shed light on key issues in the analysis of climate change and migration, including observable effects, perceptions, forthcoming scenarios, analysis of climate sensitive aspects and proposals for action in the Sahel Zone, West Africa and the Maghreb.
The energy landscape in the Mediterranean- Towards a net zero carbon emissions scenario
The afternoon session on the 23rd of November was dedicated to the expert roundtable on Energy, “Towards a net zero carbon emissions scenario in the Mediterranean; engaging dialogue to explore opportunities and overcome challenges”, which gathered experts from the Mediterranean and was moderated by Iskander Ben Mustapha, Senior Advisor in Private Sector, International Development and Renewable Energies.
The Expert Roundtable was the kick off activity of the Energy policy group, which the FNF Madrid office is launching with the aim to bring together experts from the political sphere, think tanks, public and private sector companies and the civil society in order to exchange perspectives, develop policy proposals and consult decision makers on implementation strategies.
The participants of the Expert Roundtable have recognized the relevance to debate a very timely topic such as energy. At a time of major geopolitical, economic and environmental upheavals, the question of the energy sector in the Mediterranean acquires special importance. At the crossroads of three continents, the environmentally fragile Mediterranean basin is also an important source of energy, be it renewable energy, such as wind or sun, or fossil fuels in its basement.
The Med Fest, promoting new voices
During the second day, the main themes were personal diversity, migration and entrepreneurship, the impact of the triple crisis for youth, fake news and populisms. A wide array of activities were part of the program, such as the launch of a publication on diversity, the screening of documentaries, debate with experts, a musical session and an art intervention. Young people had the unique opportunity to listen to outstanding speakers, to express themselves, set their goals and come together, sharing experiences for a great future.
The welcoming remarks on the second day of the Med Fest were in charge of David Henneberger, Director FNF Madrid Office and Pamela Preusche, Minister of Political Affairs Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, hinted at the importance of creating this type of space where young people can express themselves. "We want to stimulate a debate that focuses on more positive aspects”, mentioned the Head of the FNF Madrid office.
The day was conducted in a dynamic and entertaining way by the Master of ceremonies, Sara Escudero, who, with a touch of humour, managed to convey a message of confidence in the future for young people.
The era of personal diversity
The second day of the Med Fest started with the panel “Are we a truly diverse society?”, which included the launch of the publication under the same name. The debate had the participation of Adriana Boho, TV stylist, writer and activist. First Afro-descendant influencer in Spain; Jose Ignacio Pichardo, PhD in Social Anthropology. Lecturer at the University Complutense of Madrid (UCM); Sylvia Jarabo, Managing Partner of Promising Women. Member of the Board of Trustees of Fundación Diversidad, under the moderation of Eva Díaz, CEO Shaping The New and #FemaleForward Ambassador.
The speakers shared their thoughts and ideas around diversity, a concept and idea that is currently trending. There is no sector in society that is not in some way working to incorporate it, from private enterprise, to public policy, to the arts, to the media. It has become a central issue in today's societies and constitutes a major challenge for life in democracy.
Voices in Motion - Migrants shaping new realities
Migration and entrepreneurship was also one of the program topics. The session started with the screening of the documentary "Voices in Motion", a documentary produced by FNF Madrid and directed by CAD Productions. Through this documentary, the FNF Madrid office wants to bet on a future of equality among young people. The documentary tells the stories of different people with migrant backgrounds who are committed to adding value to their new countries, enriching them and making them more cohesive.
After the documentary screening a Roundtable took place with the participation of outstanding speakers with a migratory background, such as Fatima Sounssi, Founder and President of the Cultural Association Orientalia; Abdoulaye Fall, PhD in Demography and Founder of the Maingate Association; Pablo Malavé, Founder and President of the Gay Men's Choir of Madrid.
The panel, moderated by Jorge Llorente, economist and young entrepreneur, changed the focus in an additional direction related to migration - entrepreneurship and value creation in the host society.
Triple crisis and new challenges for young people
And as the protagonists of the day were the young people, a session on the triple crisis and the new challenges they are facing today followed.
The round table "Triple Crisis Generation", with the participation of Sebastián Ibarra, member of the Demos Association of the Carlos III University of Madrid; and Jorge Galindo, Doctor in Sociology and Deputy Director of EsadeEcPol; both moderated by the communicator and environmental activist, Paula González; was also the platform for the screening of the documentary "Double Crisis Generation".
The audiovisual piece sheds light on the socio-economic gap faced by Generation Y, the reasons for the political breakdown in the region and will seek to promote a debate on possible responses to the lack of opportunities and security. It features the participation of dozens of young people interviewed in Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.
The documentary was preliminary in starting a debate focused on the triple crisis that young generations are currently facing due to the new challenges arising from the invasion of Ukraine, inflation and climate change.
Fake news under the influencers lens
The last Roundtable was focused on a very topical issue: Fake news and the rise of populisms. The debate was focused on a current analysis of fake news and the rise of populism, in which influencers, such as Paula González, communicator and environmental activist; Enrique Álex, traveler and LGTBI activist; and Lucía Mbomío, journalist and writer. The speakers shared with the audience their vision, perspectives and solutions to the challenges posed by the rise of populism, which particularly affects Southern Europe, with the growth of extreme right-wing parties. The speakers highlighted the relevance to reflect, each from their own perspective (human rights, environmental activism, LGTBI community, etc.) on how this new scenario can be countered.
The journey ended up with a very positive vibe and a message of hope for the future in the Mediterranean through an artistic and musical session. The illustrator Marta Chicote created a live mural: "The mural of the Mediterranean"; while DJ Marco Llorente provided the musical performance for the closure of the day.
All in all, the 1st edition of the Med Fest brought together experts, stakeholders, activists, young people to address issues such as migration, diversity, entrepreneurship and fake news which participated in the debate of social, economic and political issues, at the same time brought the public closer to the cultural richness of this region.