Rethinking Youth Political Activism in the MENA Region - Regional Programme Political Dialogue and regional Integration in the Southern Mediterranean
Local governance has considerably different features in the South Mediterranean region. Given the importance of the topic, and part of its aim to strengthen civic and political engagement among young actors in the region, the Regional Programme Political Dialogue South Mediterranean of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS PolDiMed) organized the second training of the MENA Leadership Academy (MENA LA) – Generation 4 between 7 and 11 November 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. The training aimed specifically to increase the knowledge of the participants about citizen participation and inclusive governance.
MENA LA is a two-year capacity-building program held under the motto of ‘Rethinking Youth Political Activism in the MENA Region’. The target group is the participants, both students and young professionals who are actively engaged in their communities such as in political parties or Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Participants were selected from Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, following an online call for applications.
Building on the first training of MENA LA 4, which took place in Tunis, Tunisia, in June 2022 and focused on social and political participation and the foundations of democratic systems, the second training tackled, among others, the concepts of decentralization, local governance, federalism, accountability, representation as well as the political, economic, and social developments of Turkey in the 21st century.
Delving deeper into these questions, our invited experts delivered detailed presentations and led interactive discussions and workshops from a comparative perspective that addressed the respective countries of the participants. Among the trainers and speakers were Dr. André Sleiman, international expert on governance and public policy practitioner, Prof. Berk Esen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Sabancı University, Mr. Juri Schnöller, international expert on digital political communication and activism, and Dr. Itır Akdoğan, Research Director of TESEV.
Equally important, the participants had the opportunity to visit different institutions such as the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality where they met with Mr. Mehmet Tevfik Göksu, Deputy Chairman of İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Mayor of Esenler Municipality. Field visits included also meeting discussions with Columbia Global Centers, Istanbul office, IYI Party (Good Party) Youth Organization, MEXT Technology Center, and Mercator Stiftung, Istanbul Office.
KAS PolDiMed remains committed to strengthen the political dialogue and societal and economic integration in the Mediterranean region by developing the capacity of youth to participate more in Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and political parties, an untapped potential in a region where youth represent 60% of the population.