Literature as a Bridge between Civilisations - Literary Awards “Città di Castello”
19 December, 2016
On 26 October, 2016 from 1500 (3pm) to 1800 (6pm) at the Borromini Hall of the prestigious Vallicelliana Library in Rome the Literary Awards “Città di Castello - Special Section “Mediterranean” opened with an inaugural event titled “Literature as a bridge between civilisations”. The event was organised by the Istituto Euro-Mediterraneo e per il Mondo Arabo (ADDAR) in partnership with the Euro-Gulf Information Center (EGIC), which also was the event’s main sponsor, and has received the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage (Beni Culturali).
The event gathered an audience of approximately 50 people, including publishers, translators, writers, journalists, academics, students and others. One of the objectives of the event was to offer a different perspective on the Syrian tragedy, away from its political dimension into its human dimension. The event did so by shedding light on the Syrian vanguard literature of love and coexistence. Indeed the award has been assigned posthumously to the great Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, handed to the Italian publisher of Qabbani’s anthology "My Most Beautiful Poems" Roberto Revello (Jouvence). In celebration of Qabbani’s art, the Syrian-Italian actress Sara El-Debush performed a selection of his poems in Arabic and Italian during the event. The performance was followed by a debate chaired by Ambassador Claudio Pacifico, already Italy’s Ambassador in many Arab countries and now ADDAR’s President.
In his introduction, the Ambassador explained that it is his priority to work to strengthen Euro-Mediterranean cultural relations, in particular given the current socio-political context. Cinzia Bianco, Programme Manager for the EGIC, reinforced this point by highlighting how superficial the level of knowledge between the European and Arab people is and how it is negatively influenced by the misrepresentation in the media. Afterwards, Dr. Hazim AlSamarai, Chairmen of the publishing house Dar al-Hikma and Member of the Administration Board of the Arab Publishers Union took the floor to express the commitment of his organization to help create a literary bridge between the Arab world and Europe by promoting European literature in the Arab countries and suggesting Arabic literature for European dissemination. From the Italian side, Antonio Vella, General Director of the publishing house “luoghinteriori” presented some Italian titles for the Arab world and in particular “L’Io Arabo” a book written by Syrian-Italian author Houssam Mouazin, ADDAR’S Vice-President, on his multi-layered identity as a “human bridge” over the Mediterranean. Finally, the conversation went on dissecting the theory and practice of Euro-Med cultural relations and literary cooperation with two experts from the academic world: Prof. Jolanda Guardi and Dr. Raffaele Autieri. An engaged and interested audience generated a very dynamic debate at the closing of the event.
Before the main conference, the EGIC had organized an open-doors meeting with all the event’s guest in its headquarters: the goal was facilitating the establishment of relations between Arab and European publishers and authors as to lay the ground for creating a true, functioning literary bridge between Europe and the Arab world.
Link to the performance >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdLvLzo5g3Y&t=15s