Leterme moderates debate with young people seeking to shape policymaking in Med region

World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid (WLA – CdM) Member, Yves Leterme, led a mission to Tunis partnering with the Anna Lindh Foundation in supporting Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV) project, a debate programme connecting civil society, education and policy-makers across the South Mediterranean and Europe.

Leterme, who is the former Prime Minister of Belgium, moderated a final Policy Dialogue with these young voices, an exciting culmination of a three-day-long event in which participants, all young influencers who want to shape policy and media narratives, engaged in a debate competition involving teams from seven national debate hubs with 90 participants.

Held in both English and Arabic, this debate addressed the motion “The direct election system failed the people”, taken on by four young participants. The WLA-CdM Member also gave the awards to winning teams in each language.

Leterme, who believes it is “crucial” to involve youth in policymaking “to make a difference” addressed the following takeaway message the young leaders attending the debate: “Politics is all about the people, aiming to make a difference for them. Remember it is more important to participate than to win”.

The aim of the Young Mediterranean Voices project is 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. YMV is coordinated by the Anna Lindh Foundation and funded by the European Commission.

Exploring a role for Club de Madrid in Tunisia

During the mission, Leterme also met with representatives of Tunisian civil society to explore a potential role for the WLA-CdM in the current political context. In 2012 a mission by the organization led by then-President Wim Kok supported Tunisia’s transition to democracy. This was followed by several missions by Member Rodríguez Zapatero, to consolidate Tunisia’s democratic spring.

The WLA-CdM Member met with President of International Institute of Human Development (IDH) Emna Jeblaoui and to explore new high-level technical or political missions led by WLA-CdM that further contribute to consolidating democracy in the country. Other ideas shared in the meeting consisted in organizing policy dialogues around issues like corruption or effective resource management or a seminar that analyses the six years of implementation of this democratic Tunisian Constitution.

The former Prime Minister of Belgium also attended a meeting organised by the British Council Tunisia with Tfanen-Tunisie Créative, a cultural programme aiming to strengthen civil society and facilitate sustainable professionalisation of creative industries by reinforcing culture as key to social cohesion.