LIBERALISM IN THE ARAB WORLD: THE NEXT STEP

The conference consisted of two programs: one part focused on Migration issues between the Arab and European world. The other section of the program focused on the election of the board for the AYUFD.

The first day started of with the book launch of ‘Bridging the Gap’ at the headquarters of Mouvement Populaire.. After the book launch, a panel discussion was held with young liberal leaders from both worlds to elaborate on what Liberalism meant to them. It was a great start for all participants to get to know each other before the conference started.

The next day, all participants from Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestinian area, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, the UK and the Netherlands gathered to listen to the opening words by Free Egyptian spokesperson Shehab Wagih and the director of FNF in Cairo, dr. Ronald Meinardus. During the conference, all participants were able to give input on migration issues from their countries perspective.

Presentations by experts were interchanged by roundtable and group discussions. These discussions were not mainly focused on creating policy’s that would make access to Europe more easily, which is a typical focus on migration issues. No, the Arab delegates were more focused on how Europe and themselves could improve the standards in their own countries to decrease migration flows between the two regions. By the end of the day a joint press statement was created to express the devotion towards the migration issue. A new generation is on the rise in the Arab World, and on Sunday the 4th the new board of the AYUFD was established. Aziz Dermoumi from Morocco was elected as president of AYUFD among 7 others. The joint press statement on migration (which we will post as soon as we have an official English version) illustrates not only that the Arab Liberals are open to collaborate more with their liberal friends in this region, but also with European and other partners. This offers fruitful cooperation’s for the future.

VVD International wants to thank all participants, and especially FNF and AYUFD for an interesting and progressive weekend on the migration issue. The AYUFD, FNF, and VVD International are looking forward to new upcoming meetings between the European and Arab world.
__ -The experts on the European side were VVD policy advisor on Migration Christien Waller, VVD policy advisor on Foreign Affairs Lennart Salemink, and LibDems International Officer Peter Lesniak.