While working for the Anna Lindh Foundation in Alexandria, Egypt, one of my main projects was producing the foundation’s 10 years review. It was a complicated and challenging process of gathering and editing information from various units and teams, creating an appealing and simple narrative from excel spreadsheets and programme reports, selecting images that represent best the diversity of citizens and civil society of 43 Mediterranean countries and struggling with routine summer power cuts in an upper class Cairo neighbourhood while exploring full potential of creative young female Egyptian graphic designers in order to meet strict deadlines. I can now smile remembering that, but it was not all roses back then.
The Anna Lindh Review, therefore, brings together milestones of the organisation, outcomes and beneficiaries of its main programmes, grants and training resources for civil society as well as insights into its 43 networks. It sets an example of how, even in the ongoing political turmoil in the region, the grassroots civil society initiatives are striving and Euro-Med citizens are willing to share and exchange, listed and understand each other. For example, a project I enjoyed most working at the Foundation was Mediterranean Journalist Award which recognises journalists “contributing to a better understanding of the diversity of cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean region as well as promoting the positive role played by media in reporting on issues of cultural diversity”. To my mind, it is crucial to recognise and promote journalistic work that stands above simplified “black and white” bias and recognise the responsibility of individuals and media outlets in shaping public opinion and attitudes, and building cross-cultural knowledge.
The Anna Lindh Foundation is “an inter-governmental institution bringing together civil society and citizens across the Mediterranean to build trust and improve mutual understanding.” The Foundation leads programmes in the fields of media, education and culture and provides grants for common Euro-Med initiatives. It also runs a large and diverse network of civil society organisations involved in the promotion of intercultural dialogue across the Mediterranean.
Anna Lindh civil society networks are in Albania, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Syria (suspended), Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom.