The Swiss town of Lugano will next year host a summit bringing together about 300 young leaders from Europe and the Middle East to discuss the theme of post-conflict reconstruction and French President Emmanuel Macron will attend the meeting “if his programme allows it”. This was disclosed by French political scientist Gilles Kepel of the Université de la Suisse italienne (University of Italian Switzerland) in an interview with the Swiss daily Le Temps.
The young participants in the Middle East Summer Summit, organized in collaboration with the Locarno Film Festival, will come from Morocco, Iran, Turkey, Israel and Europe.
The summit’s aim is to “create networks, links and seek new modes of communication between the regions around the Mediterranean”. “We cannot afford to ignore what is happening on our borders, if only because we are directly concerned,” Kepel said, pointing to the concrete example of young people who leave to become jihadi.
Referring to the jihadist ideology, Kepel said he was convinced that a better understanding of the issue would enable “societies to improve their reactivity”.
Referring to next year’s summit, he said this type of academic project “is necessary because they can change mentalities” and the participants will be “tomorrow’s leaders”.
Gilles Kepel heads the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform, a new research centre at the Université de la Suisse italienne in Lugano.