Opening of the Mediterranean Youth Academy

Speech Delivered By Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt

September 15, 2022


As prepared for delivery. 

Your Excellency Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear guests,

  • It is my great pleasure to be here with you for the opening of the Mediterranean Youth Academy.
  • The Euro-Mediterranean region has one of the youngest populations in the world, with one in every three people under 25 years old.
  • The future depends on these young women and men. Investing in their talents and their hopes for social change today is our best chance of a brighter tomorrow.
  • Young people are not only more connected with each other than ever before but brimming with innovative ideas to tackle global and local challenges. Given the opportunity to put their skills and ideas to work, they can inspire local communities throughout the region to drive social progress.
  • Yet young people are also highly vulnerable, with many struggling to access basic rights to quality education, healthcare, and decent work. Many face life-threatening risks on a daily basis, especially in situations of conflict and conditions of extreme climate change. Across the world, these challenges are most severe for girls and young women.
  • In addition, unemployment, gender inequality and other socio-economic problems have been greatly exacerbated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Despite these obstacles, millions of young people in the Mediterranean region continue to amaze us with their resilience and talent and appetite for change. They are the most valuable asset of the region, and how they navigate their transition to adulthood will be critical for the progress of humankind and the future of our planet.
  • We can help make this transition easier by engaging and working with them to help them stand up for their rights and by creating the best possible conditions for them to progress and thrive.
  • Only in this way can we hope to achieve peace, security, justice, climate resilience and sustainable development.