Phone and laptop in hand, Sara Akkari types away her frustration and hopes for a better future in between university classes. Since she switched from her medical studies to political science, the 21-year-old student believes these are her two most powerful tools to keep the conversation going and trigger positive change.

“At the time, my family called my decision a ‘suicide mission’ because of the political situation in Lebanon. But I knew at the bottom of my heart that this was what I was passionate about.” Rich of her theorical knowledge and her experience as a member of the Lebanese Kataeb party, Sara was looking for ways to channel her aspirations into something concrete. This is when she came across the Young Mediterranean Voices, an EU-funded programme offering hands-on experience in debating, leadership and policymaking, among other skills.

“I got to learn in practice how to behave in a debate and argue with others in a decent and constructive manner -even when you don’t see eye to eye-. I came out of YMV a completely different person!” the young woman recalls, insisting on the importance of acquiring these skills and practicing them on real-life problems. “It is not something you are born with. Yet, you have to use them every day of your life.”

On her blog, Sara tackles topics ranging from the electricity and gas crisis to the corruption, education and the right to vote. While she knows the path toward change is bumpy and cannot be achieved overnight, she remains contagiously hopeful. “When you start the conversation about these topics in Lebanon, you are already doing something big. Of course, there is no magic bean but, by planting the seed of hope in one person, you have the potential to spark a huge change for all.”

Anna Lindh Foundation

The Anna Lindh Foundation is an international organisation working from the Mediterranean to promote intercultural and civil society dialogue against growing mistrust and polarisation. The Foundation promotes mutual respect and in-depth knowledge among the societies of the Euro-Mediterranean region, by bringing people together to work on common projects in the fields of education, media, culture and youth participation. It operates in a total of 42 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV)

Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV) is the flagship intercultural dialogue EU-funded programme pioneered across the Southern Mediterranean region and Europe. Built on a theory of change that transforms youth-led debate to policy action for inclusive societies, YMV connects civil society, education and policy-makers in 42 Member States of the Euro-Mediterranean process.
YMV seeks to empower young people to enhance a culture of dialogue, to contribute to public policy and shape media discourses, and to create a shared understanding with peers across the Mediterranean on how to address issues of common concern to their communities.

World Youth Skills Day (2021)

On the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day, the EU Neighbours South team launched a new campaign highlighting young entrepreneurs who received support from the European Union in the Southern neighbourhood. 👉 Discover the inspiring stories of young Mediterranean changemakers and beneficiaries of EU support. The project chose to collaborate also with 8 EU Goodwill Ambassadors from the #InTheirEyes competition and ...
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