As ministers and policy makers of the Union for the Mediterranean have just concluded their meeting,  held “virtually” yesterday in Barcelona to commemorate the 25 years of the Barcelona Declaration, a process launched in 1995 with the aim of strengthening relations between Europe and Southern Mediterranean countries, Maydan is announcing the new Maydan Board that will work towards a common destiny and notion of Mediterranean citizenship over the next two years.

We announce it today, 28 November, also because this has been declared the ‘International Day of the Mediterranean’, to be observed from now on each year with a view to fostering a common Mediterranean identity while promoting intercultural exchanges and embracing the diversity of the region.

We are pleased that voter turnout was exceptional (over 90% of Maydan voting members joined the poll) and such engagement promises increased collaboration amongst the Board and Maydan members. The following is the list of winners selected through an online poll, which permitted voters to choose up to 9 candidates, in alphabetical order:

— Lisa Ariemma is a journalist, researcher, educator and activist. She particularly focuses on issues linked to participatory citizenship, active democracy and migration. She has created and taught courses on intercultural dialogue and multiculturalism and has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals, newspapers, on-line journals and blogs. She has taken part in various conferences, meetings and cultural festivals in Europe, North America and the Middle East as an activist and independent researcher. She divides her time between Meana di Susa, Italy and Toronto, Canada but considers herself a citizen of the world.

Fatima Idriss is the General Manager of Tadamon – Egyptian Multicultural Council for Refugees. She has managed different projects supporting migrants/refugees in Egypt through Helpline schemes, Outreach programs and Micro-grants. She has worked in the human rights field in Egypt since 2001, collaborating with different international organizations, such as Save the Children, CARE and GIZ. She has supported community mobilization/initiatives to engage people in identifying community priorities, resources and needs, to build up a sense of ownership, from victim to “active citizen”, and to provide solutions promoting participation, good governance, accountability, and community dialogue. Originally from Upper Egypt, she has been supporting and advising the current Sudanese movement for democracy.

— Mohaned Krema represents the southern side of the Mediterranean and a country greatly affected by the policies of the Mediterranean. He is a 26-year-old Libyan activist and a humanitarian worker who has spent most of his life serving his and other communities. As an active and resilient person, he loves achieving work goals and making things from scratch. Professionally, he helped achieve new projects: creating the Media Centre for the Libyan Red Crescent in Azzawiya, which has had a huge positive impact on the organization’s reputation; helping with the Site Management team in the Danish Refugee Council “DRC” to reach goals in a short time when everyone bet on the failure of the team. He also helped create a new concept for the media with IOM initiatives, he is currently a Communication Field Officer with the ICRC.

 — Ali Nasser is a human rights lawyer who graduated from the Faculty of Law, at Aleppo University, in 1997.  In 2012, he joined the Syrian League of Free Lawyers, bringing together lawyers who had supported the 2011 Syrian revolution, and co-founded the Justice Administration Committee in the liberated City of Aleppo, which he worked for until 2013. In 2015, following the Regime’s military aggression backed by Russia against the autonomous City of Aleppo, he escaped to Germany. He currently lives with his family in Hessen.  He participated in several conferences on human rights and Syrian affairs in Turkey, Germany and Italy. He writes articles on social and political Syrian affairs.

 — Μaria Peteinaki is an architect, who graduated at the Polytechnical University of Athens, and has worked in the field since 2004. She co-founded Oddworks Architectural Studio in 2006, and then ATAthens, a collective focused on creating new narratives about Athens and empowering local communities. Recently, her studio became ECUAL, a collaborative laboratory focused on ecological solutions for architecture and the city. She has been politically active since 2009, in local grassroots initiatives but also in the Green Party, where she was Greek co-spokesperson, member of the European Party’s board and candidate at the European elections.

 — Francesca R. Piro is a pathologist, M.D. and cultural promoter. She has been in public health for over 20 years, dividing her time between her career and her interests and commitments in the fields of culture, the environment and civil rights. She is co-founder of Progetto Mediterranea, a nautical, cultural and scientific expedition in the Mediterranean Sea, with which she sails for long periods during the year, searching for Mediterranean thought and identity. From 2015 she has also founded La Linea d’Ombra.Roma, an independent cultural space, a meeting place and a forum to share ideas between writers, artists and intellectuals.

— Montassir Sakhi is originally from Morocco and lives in France. He teaches anthropology and sociology at the University of Rouen-Normandie. His anthropology thesis was entitled: “Discourses and counter-discourses of Jihad: Syria, Iraq, France”. His current research focuses on: the anthropology of violence and religions; wars and contemporary state organizations; and revolutions and social movements in North Africa and the Middle East. He took part in SabirFest and is looking forward to be a part of Maydan’s next stages of development, particularly by working on the Manifesto and making editorial contributions.

 — Giovanni Serra is responsible for various Italian third-sector organisations, with managerial, executive, technical and entrepreneurial roles, at a national and local level. He is mainly concerned with the promotion of volunteering, management of social enterprises, job placement of socially disadvantaged people and training of managers. He has promoted international youth exchanges and was a member of the Executive Committee of the Italian Network for Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue for five years.

 — Gianluca Solera is an activist and a writer. He was an early militant in the Italian green movement and studied regional and urban planning. He spent ten years as a political adviser to the Greens in the European Parliament, eight years as coordinator of the civil society networks of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, and four years dealing with democracy and participation projects at the NGO COSPE. His latest book is Citizen Activism and Mediterranean Identity. Beyond Eurocentrism. He is currently collaborating with Particip GmbH on civil society and rights and directing the Med Dialogue for Rights & Equality programme.

We look forward to two more years of energy, commitment and ideas to design and realize projects and initiatives in line with the Maydan vision, as well as in light of the challenges we have faced, and the lessons we have learned, with the Covid19 pandemic.

In solidarity.

The Maydan Team