Message from the Chair

From a Welfare State to a ‘Civil’ Welfare model
Fondazione Terzo Pilastro and the role of the Mediterranean region

Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo operates in the fields of Health, Scientific Research, Aid to the Underprivileged, Education, Art and Culture and acts as a trait d’union between Mediterranean cultures.

Since the Foundation was established, as I suggested, for the purpose of paying more attention to the neglected regions of Southern Italy and the Maghreb and to boost philanthropy in the Near and Middle East, most of its activities are performed in Southern Italy and the Mediterranean Region because it.

In fact, everything beautiful surrounding us originated in the Mediterranean region: poetry, literature, art, education, monotheistic religions, philosophy and democracy.  I have focused on this environment ever since I was young.  Some say this is because my personality was certainly influenced by the great leading figures in the history of humanity who lived in Sicily, my homeland, such as Roger II and above all Frederick II, who preferred to be called King of Sicily rather than Holy Roman Emperor or even King of Germany and loved the Mediterranean region immensely.  This man embodied all the excellences of human intellect: he was an eminent jurist, a legislator who reformed the administrative structure of the State, an architect, man of letters, poet, patron of science and the arts, falconer and theorist of the art of falconry, a Roman Catholic who criticised the intrusiveness of the temporal power of the popes and a farsighted philanthropist with progressive ideas.  He started the process of integration between the Greek, Latin, Arab and Jewish cultures and even invented a Romance language, to enable communication between the various ethnic groups, and reached agreements, without bloodshed, whereby Christians were allowed to enter Jerusalem … and much more.

Since it was established, Fondazione Terzo Pilastro has accomplished many projects in this regard and has opened several representative offices in the regions of interest (Catania and Palermo in Sicily; Cosenza and Reggio Calabria in Calabria; Naples in Campania; Rabat in North Africa; Madrid and Valencia in Spain, and will presently open offices in Malta).

The Foundation contributed to the restoration of the Basilica of Saint Augustine of Hippo, in Annaba, Algeria; materially participated in the International Festivals of Symphonic Music in El Jem, Tunisia for many years; created an educational course for high schools in Aqaba and Eilat in which Palestinian and Israeli youths study together; supported an impressive irrigation project in the semi-arid areas of Nabeul, Tunisia; contributed to the construction of a football pitch in Jaramana, Syria, which may be used both by the local community and the Iraqi refugees, and to the refurbishment of the e Institute of Cultural Monuments (IMK) in Tirana, Albania and has paid attention to Spain, Greece and other countries overlooking this splendid sea.

The most recent project, titled Progetto Mediterraneo, was launched in partnership with the LUISS Guido Carli University for the purpose of creating a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree course for students from the Mediterranean region who, having completed the University course may return to their homes with considerable proficiency.

However, the Master’s degree course in Oriental Languages and Cultures held with the University for Modern Languages IULM and the Master’s Degree Course in Peace and Mediterranean Development Cooperation Policies, accomplished in partnership with the Università per Stranieri ‘Dante Alighieri’ in Reggio Calabria, should not be overlooked, as likewise the major international conferences, ‘Mediterraneo: Porta d’Oriente (The Mediterranean: Gateway to the East)’ held in Palermo in 2010 when I was one of the first to emphasise the potential of this region, followed by ‘Women in the New Era of the Mediterranean’ held in Valencia, Spain in 2015 .

In parallel, most of our publications focused on Mare Nostrum, such as the two editions of the guide entitled I Borghi più Belli del Mediterraneo (The most beautiful villages in the Mediterranean) and the valuable book on Via Egnatia, published for the Festival of Travel Literature.

In the field of art and culture we should certainly mention the major exhibitions held in 2016, many of which attracted worldwide interest, designed and produced by Fondazione Terzo Pilastro in Southern Italy: Pietro Ruffo’s solo exhibition held in Catania; Stupor Mundi/L’Origine (The Wonder of the World/The Origin) by Filippo di Sambuy, focused on the figure of Frederick II and held in Palermo; the exhibition of works by Mitoraj in Pompeii, which was so successful it was extended for a whole year; the exhibition of the world heritage masterpieces that were destroyed by Isis militants in Palmyra, Elba and Nimrud, that was held in the Colosseum and acclaimed by the entire scientific community … all of which were supported by an important artistic project of great environmental value titled HELP! The Age of Plastic, which is part of the wider international event ‘The Garbage Patch State’ by Cristina Finucci, held in the beautiful setting of the Isle of Motya, Trapani.

All of these important projects received impressive feedback even if the current, widespread geopolitical crisis is objectively holding back the Foundation’s operations.  We hope that this is just a temporary crisis so we may resume the course we have started as soon as possible, even in the most trouble spots.

Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele
Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo