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Mediterranean Day: a legacy of shared knowledge, humanist values, and cultural dialogue

Mediterranean Day: a legacy of shared knowledge, humanist values, and cultural dialogue

The aim of Mediterranean Day, which was celebrated for the first time yesterday, is to celebrate Mediterranean culture and diversity and to foment cooperation amongst the countries on its shores.

From the Rock of Gibraltar to the beaches of Beirut, all Mediterranean countries seem to embody a common reality. Although they have diverse histories and widely differing cultures and languages, they do have many aspects in common and are profoundly connected. In fact, for centuries, the peoples and cultures of the region have shared experiences and created links through ideas and trade.

Home to more than 480 million people spread over three continents, the Mediterranean has a coastline of 46,000 km, offering incomparable human and environmental variety.

Three continents, more than 20 countries, many cultures, and a common link: the Mediterranean.

Paradoxically, the sea that separates us is also the sea that unites us, because the Mediterranean Sea has been and continues to be one of the most important geopolitical focal points in history. The Mediterranean has an incomparable array of cultural heritage, a wealth of traditions, and is rich in biodiversity and unique species.

For these reasons and many more, the first Mediterranean Day, a day to recognize culture and cooperation and embrace the diversity of the region, was held yesterday.

More than 50 events and initiatives took place across the region to celebrate the day. Monday’s highlights included a meeting of foreign ministers and a conference on regional integration in Barcelona, which was organized by the regional forum of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Local, national and international events, exhibitions and festivals are held on Mediterranean Day. The aim is to strengthen international ties, foster intercultural dialogue, and embrace our diversity. The Mediterranean is many things: a fascinating territory for some, a source of livelihood for others, and a home for yet others.

But why November 28? It is no coincidence that this date is celebrated as Mediterranean Day, as the event originated on November 28, 1995, when the foreign ministers of the EU and twelve southern and eastern Mediterranean countries held the first Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona to launch the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Process.

The aim of The Barcelona Process is to develop a new framework for dialogue and to foment a common space for peace, stability, security and socio-economic progress and dialogue. Mediterranean Day serves to remind us to continue moving forward together despite the challenges that may arise.

While it is impossible to define Mediterranean life in just one word, the Union for the Mediterranean has launched a campaign entitled “Mediterranean in 1 word” in order to reflect on our shared identity and origins, and all that unites us as Mediterranean citizens.

Which word would you choose?

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