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On tuesday evening I was moderating an event at the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Science (BBAW). It was the first event of a series called "Zukunftsorte Europas" (future places in Europe) and was dedicated to the "Mittelmeerraum" ergo the mediterranean space. The first speaker was the french philosopher Remi Brague a Prof at Universite Paris 1 and the Ludwigs Maximilian Universität München. He talked about the history of the medierranean region and its mystification as an aerea of multicultural exchange. He criticised precisely this backward looking and in his view incorrect view on the mediterranean. Arguing that looking into history there has barely been a true exchange through dialogue between the three main monotheistic religious cultures around tghe mediterranean sea. The Only thing that did have positiv impacts in terms of civilisatory improvements were products of imperialism or chance such as the translation of the great greek philosophers from arabic into latin. Furthermore he argued that a truly mutual multicultural dialogue can only be reached through beginning it focussing on common interests not on cultural or religious matters.
The second talk was given by Prof Claus Leggewie who is the director of the Institute for advanced study in the humanities in Essen. He had less of an historical perspective on the mediterranean but more of an utopic vision for the future arguing from an assesment of todays situation around the central sea. Criticizing the negative images of the southern sea (from german perspective) especially during the ongoing economic crisis. He developed a future vision for the region that entails sustainable investment in green energy, eco-tourism, infrastructure, environmental protection and scientific and educational exchange throughout the mediterranean region. His main arguments can be found in the book "Zukunft im Süden".
The following discussion was focussing especially on the remarks of Prof Leggewie and the audience engaged in a lively debate about the crisis management, multiculturalism and the future of the mediterranean region. Moderating the event was an inspiring and exciting experience overall.
The Deutsche Welle Radio had a short report about the event that can be found here.
Discussion with Claus Leggewie & Remi Brague on the mediterranean Space at the Berlin Academy of Science
is a researcher and PhD student in political science, freelance journalist and photographer interested in Democracy, Transition, Authoritarianism and Security especially in the MIddle East and North Africa.