THE CHAIRMAN’S PHILOSOPHY: THE GEO-POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CENTRALITY OF THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION

The topic, persistently fostered by the Chairman, was initially addressed by Fondazione Roma – Mediterraneo, subsequently by Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo and finally by Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale. The reason for such attention arose from the need to make the Mediterranean a bridge to Europe in order to avert the migratory phenomenon and the Chairman’s conviction that the Mediterranean region could again play a fundamental role in times of crisis in the West and conflict with the East.

Aware of the uselessness of the efforts made by the imaginary ‘Fondazione con il Sud’ promoted by ACRI who proposed to intervene in the South yet in practice did nothing, the creation of Fondazione Roma – Mediterraneo was an early and important sign of the Chairman’s interest in the matter.

In the ataraxia of international politics that has and still connotes this historic moment, the Chairman took the lead in pursuing the idea of the Mediterranean region as the leading civilizer and unifier and corroborated how the osmosis between the civilizations that originated in the Mediterranean Basin generated the common sensibilities that edified the West through the influence of Eastern cultures.

Moreover, since poetry, literature, art and, above all, the concept of democracy, primacy of law and religion are part of the heritage consecrated over the centuries and now an integral part of world civilization, the Chairman suggested for years that Sicily could play the role of ‘Brussels’ in the Mediterranean states.  Although he realises that this plan would be difficult to implement and that he is dreaming, since he is also a poet who feeds on dreams he continued to work untiringly to make them come true.

Through Fondazione Roma – Mediterraneo that became Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo (2014), now Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale, which is the natural evolution of the latter, and in parallel with his dream about Sicily, the Chairman continued to promote and support projects throughout the Mediterranean Basin, including:

  • the contribution to the restoration of the Basilica of Saint Augustine of Hippo, in Annaba, Algeria;
  • the participation in the prestigious International Festival of Symphonic Music in El Jem, Tunisia;
  • the creation of a course in high schools in Aqaba and Eliat in which Arab and Israeli pupils studied together;
  • the support to the impressive project to irrigate semi-desert areas of Nabeul, Tunisia,
  • the contribution to the construction of a football field in Jaramana, Damascus, Syria, which may be used also by Iraqi refugees;
  • the contribution to the refurbishment of Institute of Cultural Monuments (IMK) in Tirana, Albania;
  • the creation of a Cancer Research Foundation in Malta;
  • the support to the Open Hospitals project, in Damascus, Syria
  • the constant presence in Spain and looking ahead in Greece too.

All of this derives from the Chairman’s conviction that a spiritual component, as it was and still is manifested, coming from the Mediterranean is the right cure for the distorted phenomenon of capitalist globalisation, which is causing many problems.  He believes that the urgent need for a multiple Mediterranean conscience, upon which the French school, ‘Les Annales’ based the history of Mare Nostrum, that he has supported for a long time, is the salvific prospect in a world torn by wars and local conflicts that could become global.

This is why the Chairman championed the conference held in Agrigento in 2018 commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Multaqa (which in Arabic means friendly meeting) that was held the same city in 1998.  Having been President of the Italian section of the Consiglio Mediterraneo della Cultura of UNESCO and having been conferred the UNESCO Valldigna Award in 2014 and subsequently supported several editions of this event in Valldigna, Valencia, he suggested to hold the Multaqa in Agrigento again.

The three-day conference titled ‘Mediterraneo di Civiltà e di Pace (Civilisation and Peace in the Mediterranean Region)’, focused on the concept of peace and dialogue between Mediterranean cultures and religions.  The Chairman believes that no other ‘school’ could preserve hope for peace and goodwill amongst men better than the Mediterranean.

The chairman maintains that today, peace is still far away.  However, humanity must strive to perpetuate the rights and values at the basis of the concept of civilization in order to ensure, aware that the world is rapidly evolving, that globalization, internet and information and communication systems, which are becoming increasingly popular, will not be defrauded of the universal concept of human rights and peace amongst men.

According to the Chairman, Sothern Italy represents the natural link between the worlds overlooking our sea, which should be observed with the intention of recognising that we are a community capable of transmitting values based on mutual respect.  The inhabitants of this region must open to each other’s culture by building bridges instead of raising barricades or walls, aware that an indivisible human community exists.  The development of a peace action would mean considering the Mediterranean as the engine of this miracle that pacifies Africa, the East and possibly the West and enabling the building of a civilization with an open and sustainable solidarity economy in which the answers to people’s needs are full of the humanity which the spirituality of the Mediterranean world has always manifested.

This implies that everyone should recognise the differences in others and accept to become involved, in a spirit of mutual understanding.  This is the purpose that inspired the Multaqa meeting in Agrigento.

However, since dreams must be followed by actions, Professor Emanuele tabled a concrete proposal: the Mediterranean countries should start to lay the foundations for a federative pathway that passes through the world to which I belong; the non-profit sector that helps the less fortunate, creating points of reference in countries (such as Albania and Israel) which could rightly become part of the new “old world” that he dreams of.

In conclusion, as a man from Southern Italy, the Chairman hopes that this place where civilization was born could, in this period of grave crisis in the East and West alike, resume the role as engine of the renaissance of a world in which the founding values of mutual understanding and sensitivity to purely social issues may find opportunities to be practiced and germinate.

 

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