“The Euro-Arab relationship represents an important challenge to both Europe and the Arab world. The most important step that can be taken towards meeting this challenge is to expand the Euro-Arab Dialogue.” Mahmoud S. Rabbani (1934-2002), 1994
This 20 year old quote from our founder, Mahmoud S. Rabbani, strongly resonates in today’s context of the Arab world and poses a question that is on everybody’s mind: what does the future hold for the Arab world? And what role does one of its closest neighbor, Europe, have in it?
With the first uprising in Tunisia in December 2010, the signature of the Tunisian constitution, the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syrian’s continued uprising, ISIS, Iraq… the Arab World today more than ever represents a patchwork of moments of renaissance closely followed with conflicts and new threats that all depict a reality that seems every day more complex and unreal. Historically, geographically and economically, Europe is a natural partner of the Arab World. Today however, Europe is facing its own challenges including internal economic issues, the definition of a European identity and its positioning on the geo-political and global economic arenas.
For the past 35 years, the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation has acted as a bridge between Europe and the Arab world and has underlined the importance of strengthening this relationship and of developing a mutually beneficial interactive role for both areas of the world. In line with its tradition of promoting dialogue, the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation is organising a conference titled: The Arab Future and the role of Europe.
At a time when the effect of the conflicts emanating from the Arab World is at its peak, and questions are being raised on the impact of the European external policies on the Arab world in times of crisis, the Foundation will bring together leading personalities from the Arab World and Europe, to exchange views and debate of the future of Euro-Arab collaboration through three specific angles: political, economic and education/society.
Panel 1 – Understanding the political transition
This panel will discuss the different political transitions that have been taking place around the Arab world, their origins, impact within the region and on the Euro-Arab relationship and its future.
Panel 2 – Economic challenges and opportunities
One of the main drivers for the uprisings in the Arab World has been economic disparity. At the same time the region’s economies have grown exponentially in recent years, as has the economic relationship and (inter) dependency with Europe. This panel will address and debate the opportunities and challenges that these realities bring to Euro –Arab economic cooperation.
Panel 3 – Society: education, employment and social justice
With a population of 26.2million youths (15-24) are working or looking for work in MENA region, who typically receive an education that lacks the necessary requirements for the employment market and are faced with an unemployment rate exceeding 28% by official figures, part of the reasons that brought the Arab youth on the streets is to obtain greater civil, social, economic and political rights. Through numerous creative methods and ways of promoting pacifist messages, the Arab uprisings have created a whole new meaning of achieving social justice through peace and debate. This panel will showcase these methods and debate the Euro-Arab cooperation in education, employment and citizenship.