9.6 Intercontinental youth work and development cooperation
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Our White Seas
A number of seminars and symposiums under the overarching title of “Our White Seas” have been organised on the initiative of Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, the Maltese National Youth Agency and the EuroMed Youth Platform, together with the Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the youth field, the League of Arab States, and the North-South Centre on the promotion of the active citizenship and participation of young people in the south Mediterranean region with a focus on the:
- Development of a common cooperation framework on youth-related issues for sharing good practices and information on youth partnerships and funding opportunities
- Capacity building for NGOs and youth organisations in the region, through cooperation, training and other online supports with a particular focus on youth exchanges, culture, education and human development issues, and
- Employing non-formal learning and youth work practice in the region to enhance the skills and competencies of young people particularly in relation to employment, entrepreneurship, participation and social inclusion.
These initiatives were held under the following themes:
- Youth participation for the promotion of peace, human rights and fundamental freedoms
- Empowerment of Youth Organisations and Youth-led Civil Society Initiatives
- Euro-Arab Youth Policy Co-operation.
3rd Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work
In 2018, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ organised the 3rd Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work called “Crosscurrents Steering a course for youth work as a growing profession in the Commonwealth and in Europe”. As part of both, the Maltese Islands are in the crosscurrents between the Commonwealth and Europe, and in the crosscurrents between how they interface and interact in the development of youth work as a growth profession. The conference addressed youth work across the Commonwealth and Europe while examining, connecting, and looking to strengthen the status and standard of practice. The conference included exploration and discussion of professionalisation, its place, the potential and actual development of its meaning and contextual relevance globally.
The conference was organised in a context where recent policy initiatives and developments in the youth work field in both the Commonwealth and Europe provided an opportunity to discuss and consider together some of the salient features of youth work and how it can best be promoted as a professional practice that supports the education and development of young people worldwide.
The conference aimed for:
- The promotion of discussion, debate and exchange between practitioners, Ministers and other stakeholders,
- Provision of opportunities for CAYWA members and others to liaise/work with senior government officials in developing potential actions/strategies to raise the quality of youth work in Commonwealth member states and Europe,
- Facilitation of the building of partnerships between European and Commonwealth where possible/appropriate.
The conference focused on four themes:
1. Developing and implementing youth work policy and strategies
2. Youth Work Professionalisation, education and training
3. Ethics and young people's welfare
4. Emerging issues and innovative responses
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ participated in the Commonwealth Youth Work Conference in 2023, which aims to empower young people across the Commonwealth, given their significant representation of 1.5 billion individuals, comprising 60% of the total population. The conference coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, focusing on youth work to support the aspirations of young people amid global challenges like the Covid pandemic, economic issues, and environmental concerns. The event seeks to elevate the status of youth work in policymaking, fostering collaboration, collectivism, and solidarity among nations. Key themes include celebrating youth work's diversity, promoting peace, enhancing training, and providing a platform for stakeholders to engage and create potential strategies. The conference adopts a participatory and inclusive approach to inspire meaningful dialogue and actionable recommendations for the future.
The Malta Forum on Youth, Education and Mobility
In preparation for the Summit of the Two Shores of the Western Mediterranean in France, the high-level meeting that brought together Heads of State/Governments from the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Dialogue countries, the European Union, Mediterranean organizations international institutions and civil society representatives from the two shores of the Mediterranean, Malta organised The Malta Forum on Youth, Education and Mobility entitled “Investing in a #MediterraneanGeneration” is a key milestone for the Summit.
The forum brought together around 150 practitioners from the host country and the Member States associated with the Summit, including young leaders, educators, civil society practitioners and intercultural experts.
Organised by the Maltese Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion in collaboration Agenzija Zghazagh; the Anna Lindh Foundation, l’Università della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and, L’Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement in Geneva and supported by the European Commission, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies, and the World Bank Group, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Centre for Mediterranean Integration aimed to:
- Connect innovative and scalable projects in the domain of Youth, Mobility and Education;
- Put investment in “the Mediterranean Generation” at the heart of a renewed and inclusive regional agenda.
Following discussions on 4 key areas, namely education, virtual exchange, culturally intelligent schools co-designing the future and the potential of media, participants submitted 21 projects. Two Union for the Mediterranean -labelled projects, Mediterranean New Chance (MedNC) and High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment (HOMERe) were retained by the Forum. In particular, MedNC was recognized as a model approach to addresses the challenge of socio-professional integration of young people and, particularly, of NEETs in the region.
Malta also has a number of protocol agreements on youth issues with a number of countries including Egypt, Tunisia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan. These protocol agreements aim to encourage and promote cooperation and joint actions and exchanges in the youth field particularly in such areas as:
- youth employment and entrepreneurship;
- youth participation in public and social life;
- youth organisation capacity;
- rights and the protection of young people;
- youth and health promotion;
- youth and environmental protection;
- youth and volunteering; youth and art/culture;
- youth and ICT.
In addition, short term mobility programmes are to be encouraged and good practices shared and promoted.