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WALTER SCHWIMMER
Segretario Generale del Consiglio d'Europa
Strasburgo, 22 aprile 2003

Dear President,

I am writing to you a very difficult time for peace and stability in the Middle East and a Troubled time also for our continent often torn between seemingly irreconcilable positions. I know that you are a firm believer in dialogue and co-operation across cultures involving institutions as well as civil society forces from Arab and Mediterranean countries as a key instrument to fight prejudice and violence.

I followed with interest the decision of the Euro-Mediterranean conference in Valencia last April to create the “Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for dialogue between cultures and civilisations” which will also work towards the establishment of a free trade area by 2010. No doubt the Foundation, in order to obtain tangible results, will have to rely, inter alia, on the work of organisations already active in this field.

In this context, I would particularly like draw your attention to the impressive work carried out by the “Maison de la Méditerranée” based in Naples, established by the Fondazione Laboratorio Mediterraneo, in co-operation with the Campania Region and the Italian Parliament, which I visited last month during my official visit to Italy.

The “Maison de la Méditerranée” under the leadership of its Director Michele Capasso, aims at fostering dialogue between societies and cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean region and has already developed a vast network of partners including all the governments of the countries concerned.

Given its long record of successful initiatives and its key positions in the heart of the Mediterranean, I believe the “Maison de la Méditerranée” deserves all our support and encouragement in becoming a closer partner for both our institutions in the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue.

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