“By enhancing the role of culture, we can develop a Mediterranean identity that respects the many facets of our societies, promotes diversity and thereby increases security in the Mediterranean”. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, these words encapsulate the goal of “Italy, Cultures, the Mediterranean”, the cultural programme that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, through its foreign network, will implement in 2018 in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Today, the Minister presents the programme at Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo, on the eve of the OSCE Mediterranean Conference to be chaired by Italy on 24 and 25 October 2017.
“When we decided to organise the OSCE Conference here in Palermo, we realised that we had an extraordinary opportunity to associate the proposal for a cultural programme in the Mediterranean with a discussion on security, since we cannot have stability, security and peace without shared values and respect for the culture of our neighbours” added the Minister. “The history of Sicily, a place where Arabs and Normans created a basic model of social integration and religious tolerance between different peoples,” continued the Minister, “makes it the ideal place to act as a laboratory where a new future can be discussed for the two shores of the Mediterranean.”
The opening remarks on the presentation of the cultural programme for the Mediterranean will be made by the Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, and the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tunisia, Khemaies Jhinaoui. Contributions will then be made by representatives of the partner countries, local institutions, the media and Italian intellectuals and artists, in addition to several testimonials by people who promote cooperation and dialogue in the Mediterranean.