Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.

 

The Quest for Intercultural Dialogue in the Euro-Med Region: Opportunities and Challenges

From a geopolitics prism, the Mediterranean basin has been historically regarded as one of the most politically and strategically important regions located at the heart of the world. This important region is equally regarded problematic for encompassing two greatly diverse worlds in terms of politics, economics, and cultures that are in the same time separated by the Mediterranean Sea.

Tackling issues of cultural diversity, compared to political and economic relations, has not been included in the political agendas of the Mediterranean countries, in specific those to the North, nor vigorously appeared in debate among Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) until the last decade. The September 11 attacks and the resulting war on terrorism reinforced the so-called "Clash of Civilizations", which became better perceived as "Clash of Religions". These attacks and their aftermath, represented in the United States led war on terrorism, have produced depressing repercussions on relations, in general, and on intercul-tural dialogue, in particular, between the two shores of the Mediterranean. One can therefore easily conclude that an effective intercultural dialogue is important to better manage diversity and pave the road for a stable Mediterranean. According to this conception, intercultural dialogue has actually a security enhancing role and is an inseparable component of regional integration. By working as a Confidence Building Measure (CBM), an effective intercultural dialogue serves the security and stability of the Mediterranean region and, if successful, would have a spillover effect on other aspects of cooperation in the framework of the EMP.

The present commentary therefore attempts to shed light on the existing opportunities and challenges that could enable and hinder the two sides of the Mediterranean to deal with cultural issues effectively.

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