Since the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, there has been a wave of unrest in the Arab countries in the Mediterranean region. The different uprisings which happened in each country were rooted in social malaise and in particular in the frustrations of young people about their economic prospects, resentment about corruption, lack of democracy and the limited opportunities for young citizens to actively engage in social, economic and political development. The revolts signaled the need for a new vision for the role of skills development in responding to the economic, social and individual needs, and a new concept of governance which ensured the active participation of stakeholders in defining and managing public policies. The region is characterized by a rapid demographic development, that is to say that more of 30% of the population are under 30 years. In parallel, the formal involvement and participation of young people in the political process is negligible. The policy process is highly centralized and therefore away from the citizens. The current governance structures often make it difficult to implement consultation mechanisms that would allow young people to share their views and to contribute actively to the development of national and local policies.
In this context, The Policy Leaders’ Forum, which will give birth to the Young Mediterranean Leaders initiative, which was a High Level Forum – Policy Forum, was organised by the European Training Foundation (ETF) within a broader meeting with skills sector stakeholders from the region and in conjunction with the Fifth Mediterranean Dialogue on Public Management organised by European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) in 2012. The initiative was inspired by the findings of the Torino Process that young people from Arab Mediterranean countries were not systematically consulted by policy makers in the formulation of skills policies despite the demographic context of the countries. In 2012, 16 young people from the region aged 25-40 were selected through an open process.
The Young Mediterranean Leaders (YLM) are young nationals from the Mediterranean region who have both the scientific and practical profile to contribute to shaping the future of the Mediterranean region. Typically these outstanding young people are engaged in high level study and/or research in in key fields for the future development of the Mediterranean region. These fields are broad ranging, and include for example economic policy including entrepreneurship, social policy including gender and youth policies, constitutional studies including public policy management.
One of the goals is to provide the YLM with opportunities to contribute to the development of public policies and strengthen their potential to become political leaders. In addition, the Mediterranean youth leaders may be offered opportunities for short courses at universities in the European Union, including study visits to the EU institutions and in different EU Member States.
Each year a specific group will be targeted for the initiative according to the specific challenges in the region. The 2012 Forum, was considered a valuable opportunity for policy dialogue with particular appreciation of the policy learning between the evolving Arab Mediterranean context and EU on specific policy options to enhance employability among young people. Fourteen young people from across the Arab Mediterranean have been selected in the 2012 ETF competitive call for “Young Mediterranean Leaders. After the 2012 Forum, the ETF hosted a meeting of Young Mediterranean Leaders in Turin on February 2013. Thirteen young professionals from the Arab countries of the Mediterranean, meet to learn about the work of the ETF: ”: Amine Ferroukhi, Algeria; Sundus Balata, Egypt; Mirelle Karam Halim, Egypt; Rhana Ghafary, Jordan; Dua’a Al Jilani, Jordan; Maissam Nimer, Lebanon; Hanin Al Fakih, Lebanon; Tressia Hobeika, Lebanon; Badiâ Safi-Eddine, Morocco; Amar Kaddouri, Morocco; Natsheh Basel, occupied Palestinian territory; Fayez Jaber Sameh, occupied Palestinian territory; Mohamed Belarbi, Tunisia; Walid Said, Tunisia. They discussed how they could contribute to policy reforms and improve learning and working opportunities of the youth. Then, eight of them took part in Torino Process Corporate Conference, 8 – 9 May 2013, in which they talked about the complexity and range of modern skills policies which cover education, training, employment, economic and social development policies. Later, It was agreed to hold with the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue on Public Management (MED6) organised by European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) and with the initiative of the “Young Mediterranean Leaders” YML in October 2013 in Marseilles to help policy leaders from the Arab Mediterranean Countries address the issue of institutional fragmentation in the field of skills. During this event only eight YML will be present. In recognition of the fundamental role played by the legislative function in democratic public policy making, it is proposed to broaden the participation in the 2013 Forum to include representatives of both the executive and legislative functions. This would provide a platform to enhance the coordination of skills policies in each function, and to improve cooperation in the policy cycle between the functions.
The Policy Leaders’ Forum in 2013 is intended to give added impetus to the climate and culture of change which was noted at the Jordan Forum. In 2013, the Marseilles Arab Mediterranean Policy Leaders’ Forum will continue to address the efficiency and effectiveness of public policies in education, training and employment for better results in terms of economic prosperity and living conditions for citizens in the region. The innovation in the 2013 Policy Leaders’ Forum derives from the participation of representatives from the national parliaments in the region. Parliamentarians will have the opportunity for policy learning with their peers from the region and EU about the specific policies which are being adopted to address employability especially of young people. Finally, the Forum will provide an opportunity for representatives of the executive and legislative powers from across the region to discuss together how to reinforce the articulation between the two functions with a view to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the policy cycle and a greater coherence of policies in the fields of education, training and employment.
The Policy Leader’s’ Forum will take place in Marseilles, France on 6 October 2013 during its programme of activities as European Capital of Culture. It will take place at the Hotel Sofitel. There will be a visit and dinner held at the Villa Méditerranée in the new Mediterranean Centre for Culture and Exchange in Marseilles.
For further information please visit the MED6 web site: http://www.med-eu.org/2013/03/22/med-6-marseille-7-9-octobre-2013/
 The European Training Foundation (ETF) is the EU agency responsible for supporting the development of human capital in the country partners neighboring the EU, including Arab States selected for this initiative: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory and Tunisia. (http://www.etf.europa.eu/web.nsf/pages/home)
 The Euro Mediterranean Public Management Dialogue, MED, have the ambition to be a key forum for the exchange of practices, ideas, thoughts and analysis in the Public Management, which prevail in each of our countries bordering the Mediterranean. It gathers through its networks officials, academics and researchers. (http://www.med-eu.org/ )
 The European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) is a regional group of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS), supported with IMPGT (Institute of Public Management and Territorial Governance – Aix-Marseille University) MED: Dialogue Euro -Mediterranean Public Management.
 The Torino Process, the ETF’s biannual review of vocational education and training in the partner countries, relies on a set of key indicators – the data which help measure the state of play and progress.