The Project

ROME MED – MEDITERRANEAN DIALOGUES is an annual high-level initiative organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies). The event aims to draft a “positive agenda” for the  Mediterranean region by stimulating debate and new ideas, rethinking traditional approaches and addressing shared challenges at both the regional and the international level.

ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies) – the oldest Italian think tank on international affairs, whose Honorary Chairman is the Emeritus President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano – is in charge of the scientific and organizational Coordination.

Topic and Structure

The program is structured in more than 20 sessions, dialogues and policy forums and spread over three days. MED 2016 revolves around four pillars: Shared Prosperity, Shared Security, Migration, and Civil Society and Culture. Debates on these topics are intended to complement analyses of current challenges with new ideas and suggestions to re-launch economic interactions, promote greater regional cooperation, and ensure that adequate incentives for sustainable development are set in motion.

Shared Prosperity

Under the “Shared Prosperity” pillar, specific attention is devoted to the role that business leaders and civil society can play to foster prosperity and political stability in a region where new opportunities may be seized. The latter include the opening of new commercial routes, such as the doubling of the Suez Canal or China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and the strengthening of energy links within and between the two shores. In this context, MED 2016 also addresses two related topics: matching energy security objectives with sustainable development goals, and engaging Sub-Saharan African countries in dialogues that are often limited to the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean.

Shared Security

Discussions on “Shared Security” are focused on viable strategies to fight terrorism and promote successful postconflict transitions and institution-building aimed at enhancing resilience in Mediterranean countries. This will be all the more possible if new opportunities are offered to young generations across the region through: more inclusive growth, putting an end to the narratives of hatred and exclusion that fuel jihadist movements; intelligence cooperation and engagement of local communities to counter violent extremism and organized crime. These goals require an additional effort: rethinking the regional order in the MENA area by exploring the possible effects of the Iranian nuclear deal, the forthcoming Trump presidency, as well as the role played by international actors such as Russia and China.


The recent rise in migrant and refugee flows is turning into a humanitarian crisis. In this context, the “Migration” pillar encourages discussion about migration-related topics, including: identifying safe and legal routes for asylum seekers; fostering social inclusion; providing protection and assistance to migrants in need; and efficiently combining counter-trafficking policies with the respect of human rights.

Media, Culture & Society

The “Civil Society and Culture” pillar builds upon the acknowledgment that the Mediterranean region is a unique“melting pot” of cultures and religions, with important historical legacies, and a rich natural and cultural heritage. Topics in this pillar are: social and religious pluralism; counter-narratives to fight religious extremism; the role of the media in overcoming bias and misperceptions; and the crucial role of women and the younger generations.


Med 2016 in Numbers

  • 3 Days (+1) of Meetings and Workshops
  • 4 Pillars: Shared Prosperity, Shared Security, Migration, Media, Culture & Society
  • 500 leaders in Business, Politics and Culture
  • 45 Think Tanks and International Institutions
  • 55 Countries

ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies) is an independent think tank founded in 1934 and dedicated to being a resource for government officials, business executives, journalists and civil servants wishing to better understand international issues.

The focus is both on world regions – in particular the Mediterranean Region – and global issues. ISPI is Italy’s main forum for debate on international affairs, and it promotes international conferences withoutstanding personalities from all over the world, which include annual conferences on the Mediterranean region and specific countries like Egypt and Turkey (or other countries/region like China and Sub-Saharan Africa); bilateral dialogue Forums with France, Germany, Switzerland and Russia; seminars on migration, terrorism, European economic governance, etc.

In over 80 years, ISPI has built an extensive network of think tanks in Europe and across the world and since 2014 it is the think tank representing Italy in the Think20 (T20), an advisory body of the G20.