On 25 September 2019, the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) organized the dialogue “Youth creators transforming the Mediterranean”, which brought together the young winners of the contests “Drawing 4 Equality: Challenging gender roles on both sides of the Mediterranean” and “A Sea of Words” in Barcelona, Spain.
The dialogue was inaugurated with speeches by Joandomènec Ros, Director of the Institute for Catalan Studies which hosted the event, Josep Ferré, Acting Director General of the IEMed, and Nabil Al-Sharif, Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation (FAL).
Josep Ferré pointed out the importance of the two networks coordinated by the IEMed: the Spanish Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation (FFEM) ´s Network. The first for its role in strengthening the intercultural dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean, and the second for its efforts in promoting gender equality on both sides of the Mediterranean by gathering actors from the civil society, academia, public administrations and the private sector who are active in promoting women´s rights. He also explained that the IEMed launched the aforementioned contests in line with the actions of both networks, and also to highlight the value of young people in art, culture and social transformation, which were the main themes of this year´s contests.
On his side, Nabil Al-Sharif highlighted both the unity and diversity of the Mediterranean region, and stressed the importance of investing in young people, one of the main goals of the FAL who, besides the contest “A Sea of Words”, has other initiatives aiming at providing youth with opportunities, through training, meetings with decision makers, and fostering peer exchange among others.
Following these speeches, the president of the “A Sea of Words” jury, Elisabetta Bartuli, explained how the awarded stories in this year’s literally contest which was organized under the theme of “Young People’s Commitment in Social Change” prompt hope.
This was followed by a panel with Sawsan Nourallah and Inès Goor, winners of our illustration contest "Drawing 4 Equality”, and Bartolomiej Juszak, Khamsa Harabi and Isamil Hamoumi, who are the first three awardees of the contest "A Sea of Words".
Inès and Sawsan discussed the role of art as a tool to promote feminism, subvert social conventions and shake public consciousness. They’ve also tackled other topics such as the strong presence of women cartoonists in the Arab world, and the different experiences in the countries they know the most: France (where Inès is from and Sawsan currently lives), Tunisia (where Inès currently lives), and Syria (where Sawsan is from).
Women’s issues were also brought up by Bartolomiej Juszak, Khamsa Harabi and Isamil Hamoumi who discussed the main topics of their stories like the recognition of the invisible but persistent work of young people, especially women, in cultural and community centres in Poland; youth indispensable contributions to revolutions; and the necessity of joint work and combined efforts among young people.
The panel also discussed topics such as ecology and environmental awareness, and the cultural consumption among young people.
The event ended with an artistic performance by the Syrian artist Mohammad Othman who illustrated, in real time, selected fragments of the awarded stories, which were recited simultaneously by the dramatist and stage director Marc Rosich.
You can watch the whole event on Youtube here.
During their visit to Barcelona, the winners of both contests also participated in a workshop on artistic and creative expression at Sala Beckett, and enjoyed a tour in the neighborhood La Barceloneta.
You can also check the pictures of the event, the workshop and the awards ceremony here.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.