Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis to take part in Middle East Mediterranean Forum in Lugano

Press release, 24.08.2018

On 25 August 2018, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will take part in panel discussions at the Middle East Mediterranean Forum at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano. The summit will bring together many young people from the Middle East and Mediterranean who are working to promote dialogue and growth in their region.

Three women and three men sit in white leather armchairs in front of a screen. They discuss.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at a panel discussion at the MEM Summit. © FDFA

The first Middle East Mediterranean (MEM) Summer Summit will take place from 16–26 August 2018 in Lugano. Over nine days, 150 young participants from 30 countries in the Middle East and Mediterranean have seeked innovative ways to create concrete opportunities for dialogue and growth. Their ideas will be debated this weekend in a two-day forum open to the public and attended by prominent figures from politics, business and culture.

On 25 August 2018, Mr Cassis will take part in panel discussions on topics including Tunisia’s transition to democracy and exchange ideas with young people attending the summit. On the same day, the FDFA state secretary, Pascale Baeriswyl, will take part in a panel discussion with Philippe Etienne, diplomatic adviser to the French president Emmanuel Macron.

The day will end in a concert with the Blue Peace Orchestra, organised with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Access to water and the tensions that this can create is one of the major challenges of our times. Switzerland is very active in this area through initiatives such as Blue Peace – an international effort to support and connect water, peace, security and cooperation activities undertaken worldwide by multiple actors such as universities, cultural and political institutions, governments, civil society and the private sector. Professor Danilo Türk (chair of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace and former president of the Republic of Slovenia), Lindsey Aldaco-Manner (president of the World Youth Parliament for Water) and Ambassador Pio Wennubst (SDC assistant director and head of Global Cooperation) will take part in a panel discussion.

The MEM Summit is hosted by the Università della Svizzera italiana with the support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The geographical proximity of the MEM region makes it of great importance for Switzerland both economically and culturally and in terms of security and migration. The FDFA has been present in the region for many years and has greatly stepped up its engagement in the areas of peacebuilding and democracy, security and migration cooperation and humanitarian aid since the events of the Arab Spring in 2011. Young people, who in many countries of the region make up well over half of the population, play a central role in most of these projects.

Further information:

More about the MEM Summit
SDC: Water – a vital resource

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs