Participants from Delegates from 18 countries met in Sweden last week to work on the relationship between the European and Arab Regions. The aim of the meeting was to share ideas, develop partnerships and increase understanding between the Regions.
Discussions were held on religion in Scouting, spirituality, peace projects and Scouting in society. It was the opportunity to learn more about how Scouting operates in other countries and exchange ideas on best practices.
There was also a session on funding, specifically in relation to funding youth exchanges and projects between cooperating countries.
The meeting was held near the next World Scout Jamboree (WSJ) site near Kristianstad. The delegates had the opportunity to visit the jamboree site and partake in workshops with the WSJ organisers on some of the needs and expectations of groups going to the jamboree.
A day trip was also organised to Malmo, where delegates learned about minorities in Sweden, visited a mosque and interacted with local Scout and Rover groups.
In order to facilitate the exchange of information, a Projects Fair was held, where many associations made presentations on different projects in their countries. Participants gained an understanding and appreciation of different methods of Scouting. They were also given ideas about and opportunities to begin exchanges or working together on different projects.
Special guests for the event included Essia Fathallah and Finna Sigurdardottir, from the Arab and Europe WAGGGS committees and Samia Djacta, from ISESCO.
The Declaration adopted by the 8th Euro-Arab Meeting was unanimously approved by acclamation.
Significantly, at the same time, European youth organisations gathered in Brussels committed to principles for Europe-Arab Cooperation proposed by WOSM. Inspired by the principles laid down in the Marrakech Charter,
European youth organisations declared that in “today’s world there is a need for the young generation to join their efforts in building bridges of understanding and to empower young women and men to act in partnership for a world
“without borders” in the name of justice, solidarity and peace”. The framework for Europe-Arab Youth Cooperation endorsed by the European Youth Forum is intended to become a reference document also for Governments and International Organisations in Europe and the Arab Region, thus providing a good tool to anchor Scout partnerships as part of wider accepted international youth policy.