The nomination of the Mediterranean Prize for Diplomacy for 2007 was published on the occasion of the Euromed conference in Tampere on 27 November. The jury of the Mediterranean Foundation decided last night to give this prestigious recognition to Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja for his particular role in the promotion of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue through activities such as the Euromed Civil Forum. The event was organized, for the first time in the Southern shore, thanks to the Finnish EU Presidency, on 4 November in Morocco.
The Mediterranean area is a geographic space characterized by a great variety of politically, culturally and ethnically different countries. New challenges arising from the difficult and turbulent situation in the Middle East, distrust between the religious of the Islam and Christianity and regional and cultural conflicts nourish violence and terrorism and lead to increasing tensions in the area.
The Fondazione Mediterraneo is an international non-profit Organization of Social Utility, which includes specialists and internationally recognized scholars and politicians with international and diplomatic experience, and who have been involved in Mediterranean issues. The Fondazione is a network aiming to develop the dialogue among civilizations and cultures. The Fondazione Mediterraneo aims at achieving a greater trust by extending the dialogue within the Mediterranean area in order to consolidate inter-cultural dialogue, peace, integration between innovation and tradition, and individual rights and social solidarity.
Michele Capasso, the President of the Fondazione Mediterraneo, underlined the importance of the prize: “It’s presented only for concrete actions.” According to Capasso, Minister Tuomioja has showed an outstanding interest in promoting the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue. By giving the price to a Finnish Minister, the jury also wanted to recognize Finland, a country that has historically showed a great interest in Mediterranean affairs.
The Fondazione Mediterraneo was established in 1994 and it counts more than 500 organizations and institutions. Since 1998, the foundation awards the Premio Mediterraneo, the Mediterranean price to outstanding contributors in art and civil society. The categories are: Peace, Dialogue among cultures, Culture, Institutions, Diplomacy, Information, Art, Architecture, Cinema and Audiovisual, Sustainable Development and the Silver Dolphin award. For the year 2006 the Mediterranean Diplomacy Award was presented to Mohamed Bedjaoui, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria.