Sea of words logo

The Voice of Youths

We give a voice to young people to promote a change of narratives and contribute to a culture of understanding, peace and dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

This programme creates spaces for intercultural encounters between young people in order to promote exchanges of experiences and ideas between peers, identify shared values in the region and transcend those stereotypes that tear us apart. By doing so, it aims to equip young people with tools so they can play a relevant role in future societies and actively promote the values of diversity and co-existence in the Euro-Mediterranean area. 

The programme includes regular youth-to-youth debates on the burning issues in the Euro-Mediterranean area, including violent extremism, hate speech and migration.  

It also features the youth contest “A Sea of Words”, organised in collaboration with the Anna Lindh Foundation and its national networks. The competition is open to young people between the ages of 18 and 30 from the Euromed area. It encourages intercultural dialogue and the exchange of knowledge through the stories about experiences and concerns expressed by young people. Since 2008, each contest has revolved around a different theme, such as gender equality, sustainable development, democracy and citizenship, radicalisation and climate change. 

Through short stories, young people have the opportunity to freely express ideas, perceptions, concerns and hopes. In this way, different local and international traditions are reflected. During the 13th year of the contest, around 3,000 works were received, with a good balance between the North (47%) and South (53%) of the Mediterranean. An international jury selects between 10 and 20 texts every year, and offers the finalists the opportunity to take part in an intercultural experience in Barcelona. This exchange includes literary workshops, cultural visits and the awards ceremony, featuring prominent figures from different fields. 

The 2020 edition

Young People Faced with Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

When there are only 10 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change (UN High-Level Meeting on Climate 2019), young people are among the most outspoken calling for a change of direction. Although climate change has an impact on a global level, the Mediterranean, the second most biodiverse area on the planet, is one of the main affected areas.

The 13th year of this youth literary contest wants to hear from youngsters living in the northern and southern Mediterranean; about their experiences and emotions regarding climate change and the challenges facing humanity; and their ideas and recommendations to reverse climate change in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Key information

The call was closed on 24 May 2020

We have received 138 stories written by youths from 30 Euro-Mediterranean countries

The contest welcomes stories written in any of the official languages of the Euro-Mediterranean countries:
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, Libya, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, The Netherlands, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Kingdom.

The 10 winning stories will be published in an anthology.


See the anthology of short stories awarded in this edition.

Winners announced

(1st Prize)

The Silence of the Mountain Peaks

Jonathan Ezio Olandi (Italy)

(2nd Prize)

Look at the Voices

Anja Tomljenović

(3rd Prize)

Life After Death

Marwa Melhem (Syria)

Other finalists

I Do Not Forget

Marios Diakourtis (Cyprus)

It All Used to Be Different

Karlo Roginek (Croatia)

The Riverman

Abdullah Adel Ali Mansour Darwiah (Egypt)


Anne Rospabé (France)

The Chronicle of Exacerbating Gaia

Maia Zennie (Lebanon)

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Joanna Broniewska (Poland)

Shatt El Salam District

Wennes Ben Naya (Tunisia)

Co-organised with

Funded by