The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) are delighted to have conducted the webinar series ´Science Diplomacy for Sustainable Development in the Mediterranean Region’  in collaboration with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). The first webinar kicked off on 12 December with ‘Scientific Cooperation for Sustainable Regional Development’ for which, more than 60 attendees were present.

Prof. Dr. Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, the EMUNI President, and Ambassador Alvaro Albacete Perea, Deputy Secretary General for Higher Education and Research at the UfM, inaugurated the event.  Before hearing from eminent experts, Ms. Maria Cristina Russo, Director of Global Approach and International Cooperation, DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission, delivered a keynote speech.

The webinar then featured a session, moderated by Dr. Heba Gaber, Science Counsellor to the EU Delegation, Egypt, providing a lengthy examination of the key areas in the context of the UfM Agenda and roadmaps on health, climate change and renewable energy. This session included presentations by Dr Sonia Abdelhak, Senior Biologist at the Institut Pasteur (Tunisia), Dr Mohamed Behnassi, Senior Environmentalist at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council – CESE (Morocco), and Prof Sara Rainieri, Professor, Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma (Italy) respectively.

Webinar 1

The webinar was rounded off by Dr. Mounir Ghribi, Director of International Cooperation and Research Promotion at the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics – OGS (Italy), who moderated a discussion on countries perspectives on regional opportunities and challenges.

The second training webinar ´Skills for Science Policy Interface’ ran on 14 December for which, there were more than 30 online attendees.

Dr Jerneja Penca, Head of Academic Affairs at EMUNI, opened the session, before Dr Lorenzo Melchor Fernandez of the Joint Research Centre at the European Commission went on to discuss jobs and roles at the interface of science and policy, and the current limits within this area, as well as the need to build synergies across fields and countries.

The first of the webinar´s trainers, Dr Tim Flink, Scientific Advisor on the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment at the Federal Parliament of Germany, delivered his presentation on ´Identifying Needs, Engaging with Policy Makers and Scientists. ´ Ms. Charlotte Rungius, Researcher at Humboldt Universität (Germany), followed with a presentation on ´Producing Relevant Scientific Evidence, ´ while ´Communicating at the Science-Policy Interface´ was the subject of the last training presentation, given by Dr Jakov Bojović, Executive Director at the Centre for Policy Writing (Spain).

Giuseppe Provenzano, Project Manager for the UfM contributed to the concluding remarks.

Science Diplomacy is not a new initiative, but has received strong impetus in recent years, and is closely connected with culture and economic diplomacy. These areas must be approached holistically in order to realise cross-border and region-wide cooperation.

EMUNI wishes to thank everyone who participated in helping to make this webinar series a success.