Her Excellency the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Tanja Fajon, and her Portuguese counterpart, His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, were both welcomed by the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) on Tuesday 31 January, 2023.

Following their arrival and a short walkabout the medieval coastal town of Piran, where EMUNI is situated, more than 60 attendees inside the University headquarters of the historical Trevisini Palace watched the Roundtable on Science and Diplomacy for Sustainable Development of the Mediterranean, which was opened and moderated by EMUNI President, Prof. Dr. Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, and joined by the Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Blue Economy (COESUBE) at EMUNI, Dr. Mounir Ghribi.

HE Tanja Fajon reminded the audience how the climate crisis is the one area that unifies all countries and communities across the Mediterranean, and indeed the world. She credited events such as the Roundtable discussion with providing inspirational ideas for solutions to climate change through Blue Economy as well as Science and Diplomacy, where a variety of stakeholders should be involved to implement real action to fight climate change.

HE João Gomes Cravinho highlighted how mobility must be a strategic objective of the Mediterranean, through trade linkages, student exchange, and research and collaboration, where common perspectives are required to fight common problems. The Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of youth in the region and the need to have their voices heard: ´´We need to face environmental challenges not only for them, but with them.´´ The necessity of the New Agenda for the Mediterranean, which is intended to strengthen the strategic partnership between the European Union and its Southern Neighbourhood partners, to support research and innovation as a driver to achieving more inclusive growth was also underlined. In essence, the New Agenda is key to sustainable development within the framework of the Green Transition, working together with the Southern Mediterranean.

´´We must swim together or we sink together´´ (His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho)

Dr. Mounir Ghribi of COESUBE went on to explain the perspectives and work of the Centre of Excellence, before a brief moderated discussion with the audience. EMUNI was delighted with the variety of participants: from students and local community stakeholders in Piran, to Ministerial representatives of Slovenia and a foreign diplomatic corps from more than 10 countries.

Photos by Nebojša Tejić, Slovenian Press Agency (STA)