Mediterranean Cultural Identity
The Mediterranean cultural identity
is understood primarily as an awareness of diversity and a search for
intercultural dialogue. The key words to designate such identity are 'heritage'
and 'mediation' . A better prospect perhaps would be the creation of a living
civilization rather than the constant invocation of heritage.
In this situation, cultural
diversity becomes the key resource to initiate change. And change presupposes
communication. However, the type of integration imposed upon the Mediterranean
countries and cultures makes the Mediterranean subservient to the more developed
European Union and wipes out the existing cultural differences. For this reason,
a reinterpretation of the Mediterranean as a region is an absolute necessity, as
is also a diversification at a different level than at present.
Thus inter-ethnic and
inter-religious dialogue in the Mediterranean is needed to alleviate the
conflicts between particularisms opposed to openness, communication and
cooperation. The states have the key role in combating nationalism and
religious hatred ('religious nationalism') and in stimulating democracy and
Programmes: Which Policy for Cooperation and Dialogue?
The Euro-Mediterranean cultural programmes: which policy for
cooperation and dialogue? The Barcelona Declaration, the Euromed civil forum,
and a number of specialized programmes of cooperation in fields such as theatre,
education, and others, such programmes function largely thanks to the efforts of
the partners and the support of different foundations.
And the last feature of this cooperation remains “Anna Lind
Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the dialogue between cultures”. In fact the 1995 Barcelona Declaration
states the need, in chapter III, to develop a dialogue of cultures and
civilisations within the framework of the Mediterranean societies. The Action
Plan adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers in
Valencia, 22-23 April 2002 includes a mandate for the setting up of a
Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for a dialogue of cultures and civilisations.
Later The Euromed Ministerial Meeting in Naples 9 Barcelona VI)
decided to set it up.
The question is whether this new
structure will respond to the need of an efficient cultural dialogue in the
Mediterranean? How and to what extent is it able to fulfil the
task of bridging the two regional cleavages between rich and poor and between
the West and Islam thus urgent and long overdue in the Mediterranean? Will
it overcome the obstacle so far weakening the structure of the intercultural
dialogue process? As a matter of fact, it has been argued that the European Union treats the different
foundation involved in the process in a bureaucratic manner, which only helps to
marginalize them. Only occasionally does it provide some funding, usually after
exhausting negotiations. Many Mediterranean countries and organizations are
expressly excluded from any cooperation and communication.
The question is whether the European Union is willing to take into
consideration this criticism and if the answer is yes, which path will it
undertake in order to offer a better basis for a successful cultural dialogue in
the Mediterranean i.e. a better platform for the " Anna Lindh
these provisos in mind, there is no doubt that the creation of the " Anna Lindh
is the expression of the serious commitment of the EU to establish an efficient
space of dialogue between cultures in the Mediterranean.
Such initiative can only be saluted and encouraged.