Meeting at the Arab House in Madrid

On 13th and 14th September, the meeting of the Spanish Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Intercultural Dialogue-REFAL took place in Madrid, concretly at the Arab House, next to Retiro’s Park.

At the meeting we were informed of the latest news coming from Alexandria, headquarters of the Foundation, network of networks with the participation of the 45 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean space and a unique institution of the European Commission with headquarters outside Europe. Not very positive news, given the increasingly critical Euro-Mediterranean context, marked by the serious humanitarian crisis suffered by millions of people, refugees due to armed conflicts, as well as by the lack of leadership, both by government authorities and multilateral organizations, including the REALF itself.

Fact that requires us, non-profit and non-governmental youth organizations from the world of education, research, social sciences, arts, etc. members of REFAL, to dedicate more efforts and be more and more creative to maintain relationships and stable associations with entities throughout the Mediterranean. This fact does not prevent us from continuing to dedicate our efforts and resources to educational, mobility, exchange and association activities.

The Spanish network is based in Barcelona and it has more than 120 members, ​​including a significant number of Catalan organizations, such as the National Youth Council of Catalonia -CNJC; Casal dels Infants, Artixoc, Blanquerna’s Observatory -UPF, among many others, who participated in the meeting.

Coordinated by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, the Spanish network is one of the most active. For the second time, the annual meeting was dedicated also to training, with the great success of having Xavier Orach, a journalist with a long history that called attention to the complexity of communicative action as a result of social and technological changes. He also called into question some of the myths of digital communication and, in short, gave good advices for more effective communication; followed by a workshop dedicated to the campaigning, with examples of innovative elements, by Xosé Ramil, and with two workshops dedicated to gamification, or rather, online interactive and educational games.

In addition to taking stock of the activities of the network, both nationally and internationally, a new steering committee was appointed at the meeting for a period of 3 years, and a presentation of ideas and proposals was made. Of the 9 proposals, two were presented by the FCV, Lluc Martí, coordinator of the program ‘Voices for Peace’ reported on the resolution of the United Nations Security Council on Peace, Youth and Security 2250/2015, encouraging participants and the same network, to carry out actions of public incidence, given its nature. They were also encouraged to inform their partners and the different networks throughout the region of the new opportunities that can create the implementation of this historic regulation.

Lluc briefly reported on some of the resources focused on developing key competencies for leaders and educators as peacebuilders, from conflict management to media literacy, ideas that generated interest and that we shared in a working group with representatives of the Youth Council of Spain-CJE, and with organizations and Universities of Cadiz, Albacete and Granada.