By Pietro Curatola - President and Founder of Associazione JUMP Gioventù in riSalto (Italy)
The European continent has been the cradle of the most advanced civilisations that have influenced the rest of the world.In a delicate historical period such as ours, celebrating the day of the Mediterranean may seem contradictory in reference to an often tragic geographical scenario that undermines the European identity, but it is fundamental and strategic if the aim is to promote a common Mediterranean identity and to make known the efforts undertaken by all the actors who work daily to strengthen cooperation and integration in the Euro-Mediterranean area.
Let us not forget that the name Europa belongs to the Mediterranean since the divine abduction that, according to the myth, gave Zeus the opportunity to conquer through deception the princess Europa who discovered the true identity of the white bull only after the impervious crossing of the mare nostrum from the white beaches of today’s Lebanon westwards to Crete.
To coincide with the anniversary of the 1995 Barcelona Declaration, which laid the foundations for the creation of the Union for the Mediterranean, the ‘Day of Mediterranean ‘ will be celebrated on 28 November each year.
The Day of the Mediterranean aims to act as a timely reminder that our similarities largely overcome our differences, the cultural dimension being an important component of who we are and where we come from. It provides an opportunity to celebrate achievements, embrace diversity, to strengthen ties between our two shores and to deepen our understanding of each other.
Home to more than 480 million people living on 3 continents, with a coastline of 46.000 km, the region offers a wealth of human and natural diversity unparalleled in the rest of the world. The Mediterranean expresses 15% of the world’s GDP and more than 27% of the world’s goods pass through it, these data show the importance of working together, but above all the potential of the area.
Communities and cultures have long exchanged ideas, trade and learning across this common sea, and this day aims to strengthen these ties, promote dialogue and highlight the region’s achievements, as well as highlight issues of concern and mobilise political will and resources to address shared challenges.
All those who identify with the Mediterranean are therefore invited to celebrate the enduring legacy of this age-old agora of cultural dialogue, wisdom and humanism. This international day is not only an opportunity to look back and take stock of what has been achieved, but also a timely reminder of what makes us Mediterranean, what unites us and forges our shared identity.