The future of the mediterranean is in the youth’s hands | 3rd edition of the Mediterranean Innovation Agrifood Week: changing mindset to deal with change

The third edition of the Mediterranean Innovation Agrifood Week will kick off on 22 November, focusing on the need for a new mindset among the younger generations to drive change and innovation in the Mediterranean region.

During three days of events, more than 30 international experts and 22 business incubator managers from 12 countries (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, Uganda, Tunisia) will meet to identify strategies, models and tools that can help young people lead change in the Mediterranean.

By 2050, more than 50 per cent of the youth population in the Mediterranean region, namely 111 million young people out of a total population of around 200 million, will be living in North African countries. Although these young people are highly educated, they often do not match the skills required by the local and international production system, as evidenced by the ever-increasing unemployment rate, which currently stands at over 40%.

It is crucial to encourage young people to become agents of change, through a genuine change of mentality, in order to prevent them from seeing migration as their only option.

The event will be launched on 22 November at 10am with the inauguration of the new Mediterranean Innovation Hub, on CIHEAM Bari campus. The hub is part of the Creative@Hubs project (Holistic Networking of Creative Industries through Hubs, supported by the Interreg V-A Greece-Italy Cooperation Programme) and will host all the activities of the initiative. The inauguration ceremony will be attended by Maurizio Raeli, Director of CIHEAM Bari, Donato Pentassuglia, Regional Councillor for Agriculture, Gianluca Nardone, Director of the Department of Agriculture, Rural and Environmental Development of Puglia Region, Tina Ranieri, Interreg V-A Greece-Italy 2014-2020 Programme.

The first panel on day 1 will be dedicated to resilience of rural areas, while the second panel, organised in the framework of the FoodShift2030 project, will focus on food policies in the Mediterranean area, with a line-up of speakers including leading experts and young entrepreneurs.

On day 2 (23 November), Apulian companies will have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs, experts and strategic advisors during the Matching event, while young aspiring entrepreneurs will take part in the Pitch Competition, presenting their business ideas developed under the Creative@Hubs project. In addition, a workshop will bring together incubators, start-ups, executives and innovation practitioners from the Mediterranean region.

In the afternoon, two more panels will take place to exchange on digital transformation and new education models, with expert speakers and representatives of different organisations.

The Mediterranean Innovation Agrifood Week will be closed on 24 November (10 am), with the International Conference on the event’s main theme: The future is young, changing mindset to deal with change, which will take place in in the Great Hall of CIHEAM Bari.

The Director of CIHEAM Bari, Maurizio Raeli, the Councillor for Economic Development of Puglia Region, Alessandro Delli Noci, the Secretary General of CIHEAM, Teodoro Miano, and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) will address the meeting.

Several expert speakers and representatives of leading Mediterranean organisations are due to participate, including Elisa Pettinati, AICS – Italian Agency for Development Cooperation,  Cecilia Marocchino, Coordinator of Urban Food Systems and Laura De Matteis, Food Systems Expert, FAO,  Diana Battaggia, Director of UNIDO ITPO Italy, Wladimiro Boccali, General Coordinator of Codeway Expo 2022, Raniero Chelli, UNIMED Project Manager, Martina De Sole, Director of ENoLL – European Network of Living Labs, Hedi Chouria, Food Officer, BusinessMed – Union of Mediterranean Business Confederations, Gianna Elisa Berlingerio, Director of Economic Development of  Puglia Region.

The conference will be moderated by Giovanni Matera, RAI journalist. The conclusions will be drawn by Damiano Petruzzella of CIHEAM Bari.

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