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Supporting mobility for strengthening the Mediterranean dialogue

« Echange, increible, jeunesse, tolérance, opportunité, dialogo, union »: here are the words some students decided to use to share their experience during DIRE-MED’s First Intercultural Dialogue event. The aim of this meeting on the “Mediterranean-ness”, which brought together in Tangiers, 40 students from Algeria, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia was to promote dialogue, allowing the participants to share their sense of belonging to the Mediterranean region and express their desire to defend this common feeling. As former UNIMED President, Prof. Wail Benjelloun, said: “It becomes very important that young people understand each other, that they understand that they can be different but at the same time that their hopes may be very similar.”

DIRE-MED project encourages the dialogue for establishing a long-lasting relationship of mutual trust, understanding and intercultural awareness among Mediterranean countries promoting the mobility and exchange of people.

DIRE-MED partners designed a framework of cooperation to facilitate the exchange of students, academic and non-academic staff of Higher Education Institutions in the Mediterranean Basin and they are now experimenting these pilot mobilities. At the end of the project (April 2020), 78 mobilities will have been implemented, in all directions: North to South, South to North, South to South. It’s one of DIRE-MED’s teachings: there is no need to go on the other side of the globe to have a fruitful, rich and unforgettable life experience. Every kind of mobility is a life experience. As one student expressed: “To leave home, to reach out to the other, to sit down at a table, to have a tea, to introduce oneself, to listen to the other one and to learn, forgetting all of our prejudices”, that is what the DIRE-MED intercultural dialogue is all about.

UNIMED is a keen actor when it comes to students’ mobility. Its commitment is not only exemplified by its leadership in the DIRE-MED project, and coordination of a mobility consortium in the framework of E+ KA107, or through its participation in current and past projects and initiatives on the topic of mobility, such as ICMED, MedMobil and FORMED, but also in the launch of a “Petition for a Mediterranean Erasmus Generation” that it fully supports. The Petition, which you can read and sign here, is aimed at strengthening mobility between Europe and the Southern Mediterranean, including South-South mobility, reinforcing Capacity Building and increasing the cooperation within the Mediterranean region by supporting young people and education professionals to travel abroad, study, and gain experience and skills.

We share with you the students’ experiences told through their own words and recorded in the video here below, hoping you can be touched by DIRE-MED spirit and help us to get a greater endorsement of our Petition that will be presented to the European Parliament next March.