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Calling young people in MENA: we want your ideas!

CASCADES is looking for fresh ideas to drive cooperation on climate resilience between MENA and European partners.

Blog Post

Published on 13 June 2022

Author(s): Glada Lahn

Are you aged 18 – 30, a national or refugee living in the Middle East and North Africa Region* and passionate about building a sustainable society in your country/region?

CASCADES is studying climate risks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We have published a major report on the risks and are now looking for the best ideas for cooperation between European and MENA partners.

The report was written with lots of input from experts in the MENA region, but in general, these were senior or mid-career professionals. In it, we point out that:

the immense human capacity of the region, fully inclusive of women and youth, will be essential to address climate and environmental challenges nimbly, and with greater co-benefits for societal well-being.

We’d like to make sure that CASCADES captures the views of young people living in the MENA region – and so we are inviting them to send in their proposals for how MENA and Europe can work together to boost climate resilience.

3 winners will receive help from the CASCADES team in crafting their piece, which can be an article, video, or a photo story. Your contribution will appear on our website and be made available to delegates at the Chatham House Climate Change Conference. You will also be invited to present at a virtual event during the COP27 climate change conference in November.

With your contribution featured on our site, your views, needs and insights will gain the attention of policy-makers, business and finance leaders and other experts in Europe and be drawn on in our seminars which shape the views of key climate and development decision makers. 

All winners will also receive:

  • Mentorship from Chatham House researchers and CASCADES team members in crafting your article/video/photo story
  • Free virtual entry to the Chatham House Climate Change Conference, 4 – 5 October 2022

Interested? This is what we would like to you to do:

1. Read the CASCADES MENA report;

2. Choose an issue mentioned in it that you think will have a major impact on your society/region with potential transboundary impacts** in the coming 2 decades;

3. Submit your idea on how local and European partners could work together to address the issue one of the following media:

  • 200 words in English on your idea
  • a video of no longer than 90 seconds making your pitch
  • a photo story of maximum 10 photos accompanied by a voice or text narrative

Be as creative as you like in how you present it but please stick to the word/time limit, as pitches exceeding these will not be accepted. The idea can be on a major, regional or national scale or small, local-level scale, it could involve on-the-ground projects, infrastructure, networks, policies and regulation, finance, education, technical assistance and/or something else.

This should answer the following questions:

  • What is the problem/risk? (one line)
  • How it is affecting/will it affect society and cross borders? (2 sentences max) and
  • What could local and European partners do together to address it?

Answers to the last question should take up the majority of space;

4. Email your idea with the subject line CASCADES MENA Competition to

  • Written submissions (200 words max) should be .doc files
  • Videos (90 seconds max) should be submitted as a link to Google Drive, WeTransfer, YouTube or equivalent
  • Photo stories (max 10 photos) may be submitted as a link or alternatively as a .ppt

Please add a few lines on yourself and why you’d like to take part in the CASCADES project. 

We are looking for ideas that are both bold and practical. It could be something that is already being done elsewhere and could be replicated or adapted or that is being done but needs improvement, as well as completely novel ideas.

Process: The deadline for submitting the idea is 20 July extended to 17 August 2022. Our researchers will pre-select 15 applications determined by the clarity of the idea and its innovative approach. A panel of judges from the MENA region and Europe will then rate the entries and come together in a meeting to determine the 3 winners who will be notified by 30 August 2022. All 15 in the original selection will also receive written feedback.

If your idea is chosen, you will then be given 3 weeks to produce a full length version of your piece, elaborating on the idea and how it could work.

DO NOT worry about imperfect English, we will help you with that. The most important thing is your idea and your dedication to conveying that idea. All first drafts will be in by 20 September and you will receive help in crafting your piece from our team, you will need to interact with your mentor during this time. Final pieces are expected to be published online just ahead of COP27 in November.

We welcome collaborations from friends, family, schoolmates, classes, tutors, teachers, and groups on joint projects.

Any questions may be sent to 

Good luck!

*Countries we are counting as the MENA region are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen.

**impacts beyond a country’s borders, either regionally or regionally and internationally