IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji addressed the Nouakchott Youth Forum in Mauritania on November 5th, highlighting the central role that youth play in achieving regional integration of the MENA region.
Organized by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), in partnership with the Mauritanian Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the First Nouakchott Youth Forum’s overarching theme was dedicated to “Mauritanian Youth and Community Development: Bets or Challenges?”
Mr. Friji spoke multiple times throughout the conference, to an audience comprising 400 young men and women from all the provinces of Mauritania, diplomats, and high-level officials.
During the inaugurating panel, Mr. Friji called for a youth-led strategic framework that incorporates all scientific, educational, and cultural dimensions, in order to create a “positive circle” of cohesion, with regional integration at the core of its agenda. Each of the components “fit into the engine of greater cooperation,” he noted, “take one component out, and the engine stutters and falters.”
In the same vein, Mr. Friji reiterated these sentiments as the guiding tenets during a second panel. He discussed the depth of the positive dividends of young peoples’ involvement in the regional integration agenda and the potential gains of an integrated region. Noting that in order to achieve this, youth must be provided with the correct support, resources, and legislation to be in place. “Harnessing youth’s energy, knowledge, reach, and critical thinking, are indispensable for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he expressed.
Other speakers at the event were: Mr. Mohamed Ould Aamar, Director General of ALECSO; Ms. Sana Allam, Director of the Regional Office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Rabat, Morocco; Mr. El Mokhtar Ould Dahi, Mauritanian Minister of Culture.