Euro-Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries share a common history and currently tackle similar concerns regarding the development of the region. Many of their economies are characterised by insufficient reforms, limited job creation, weak educational systems, and low levels of regional trade integration. Such challenges are magnified at times of political and economic unrest that currently characterise some parts of the region, but also as part of the global challenges facing the world (e.g. climate change) all of which require urgent steps towards sustainable development. There is, hence, a pressing need for stronger partnerships with and amongst people, and for democratic transformation and institution-building towards sustainable and inclusive development. By unifying their efforts, science centres and museums can play a vital role as agents of change both locally and globally. This is especially important given the increased connectivity of science and technology to the political culture, and given the global efforts that address global issues through the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which require more action in public engagement with science, environment and responsible innovation. At this significant juncture in history, Ecsite, the long-standing European network for science centres and museums, joins hands with NAMES, the North Africa and Middle East Science centers network, for the implementation of this collaborative project targeting both regions.
The Main aims of the EMME Summer School are to:
- Consolidate existing science centres and museums in the Euro-Mediterranean and Middle East, their activities and programmes;
- Support the development of new science centres and museums, as well as communication projects in the region;
- Enhance science centres and museums’roles in advocacy in society, including but not limited to institutions at the national and regional levels;
- Exchange expertise, practices and activities among professionals in the field;
- Stimulate the development of cooperative projects among the members of the two networks.
The Specific Goal of the Summer School is to establish a Euro-Mediterranean and Middle East Framework for science centres and museums to reinforce their capacities, strengthen dialogue and exchange amongst the participating institutions, and increase the community of players working for public engagement with science in the region.