The annual conference of the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) on Youth, Employability and Entrepreneurship: The Role of Higher Education Institutions, organised in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean, opened in the afternoon of 5.4. in Piran’s Tartini Theatre.
First, the floor was given to the key element of the session – the youth: the students of the music school of Piran performed a variety of songs. Following that, welcome remarks were given by the President of EMUNI, Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry; Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fathallah Sijilmassi; the Chair of EMUNI’s Management Board, Giuseppe Giliberti, Matej Marn, Political Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, and the Mayor of Piran, Peter Bossman.
Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry stated that “working to solve the youth employability problem, which goes past creating jobs and into eradicating the disconnect between the youth’s skills and the demands of the labour market, can and will go a long way to ease social and political spillovers.” This, he emphasised, would in turn also create increased political will for regional cooperation, integration, and peace.
Fathallah Sijilmassi noted that EMUNI’s annual conference timely taps into most topical theme(s). He recalled the UfM’s strong commitment to youth, employment and education, and attention given in these themes in their ongoing and past projects. He specifically recalled the Second Regional Forum in January 2017, titled “Mediterranean in Action: Youth for Stability and Development”, on which this conference will build.
Giuseppe Giliberti reflected on EMUNI’s manifold mission of providing study programmes, connecting higher education institutions of the region, thereby using education and science as tools of interconnectedness, and of providing a space to discuss significant themes, such as the one the participants met to address.
Matej Marn expressed the joy of the government of Slovenia to be hosting an institution of such regional importance. He argued for better inclusion of the youth into policy-making, for innovative approaches in education – and for regional cooperation in discovering them.
Delighted about the presence of EMUNI is also Peter Bossman, speaking on behalf of Municipality of Piran. He situated EMUNI in the context of the diversity and hospitality of the community of Piran, and the natural and cultural beauty of its immediate surroundings.
The panellists in the opening panel were Maja Makovec Brenčič, Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Slovenia; Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific research, Egypt, and Fathallah Sijilmassi. A theme running through their discussion was the need to further get to know and link various parts of the Mediterranean and create partnerships between the stakeholders. This is needed in order to share employment practices, entrepreneurial thinking and effective educational approaches, reap benefits of research and foster new initiatives for the continually inspiring youth.