- The ‘Mediterranean Capitals of Culture & Dialogue’ initiative seeks to celebrate Euro-Mediterranean’s cultural diversity and promote greater mutual understanding across the region.
- The new regional initiative, in which all UfM cities are invited to participate, has the support of the 43 countries of the European Union and the Mediterranean basin.
- Euro-Mediterranean cities can apply to become the first Mediterranean Capital of Culture & Dialogue in 2025 until 23 July 2023. The initiative is jointly coordinated by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Anna Lindh Foundation.
Barcelona, 11 May 2023. The 43 Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) will designate annually two cities – from the North and South of the Mediterranean – as Capitals of Culture & Dialogue. This regional initiative seeks to promote and celebrate Euro-Mediterranean’s rich cultural diversity and shared heritage, as well as to foster mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue. The initiative will also provide the designated cities with the opportunity to highlight their Euro-Mediterranean identity while promoting their own historical and cultural heritage, enhancing local action and that of civil society, as well as fostering a sense of identity across the region while encouraging sustainable tourism through the promotion of culture.
UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel, stated: “This new initiative illustrates the importance of culture in promoting diversity and tolerance. Together, the two cities will be sending a message of openness and solidarity in our region. This initiative is deeply rooted in the confidence that our cities, no matter where they are or what they have been through, can pave the way to a better future with culture as their catalyst”.
In November 2022, during their 7th Regional Forum, the 43 Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) unanimously endorsed the initiative ‘Mediterranean Capitals of Culture and Dialogue’. Over the course of a calendar year, the two cities will host cultural, socio-economic and sporting events to highlight their respective Euro-Mediterranean values and dimension. This initiative will culminate in a large celebration in the Day of the Mediterranean, the 28 November.
Local and regional authorities from the UfM region (check list of countries) can already submit their candidatures for the first edition, which will take place in 2025. The deadline for applications is next 23 July 2023 and the announcement of the first two Capitals of Culture will take place at the 8th Regional Forum of the 43 UfM Foreign Affairs Ministers, set to take place in November 2023. The two designated Capitals will then have a calendar year to prepare their programme of activities before the actual title year of 2025.
Anna Lindh Foundation President, HRH Rym Al-Ali, added: “Culture has the power to bring people together, to foster understanding and dialogue, and to create a sense of belonging. I believe this initiative will be crucial in strengthening these bonds and building a more cohesive and harmonious Mediterranean community. By designating a Mediterranean Capital of Culture and Dialogue, member states of the UfM will showcase their rich cultural heritage and demonstrate their commitment to promoting cultural exchange and dialogue across the region.”
Candidate cities shall present programmes including critical topics for the region and involving the local communities. A solid regional vision is also expected, to promote globally the diversity of cultures, as well as the shared identity of the Euro-Mediterranean region. The two cities will also be invited to collaborate, encouraging international partnerships to foster territorial cooperation, and contributing to feature Euro-Mediterranean artists and participants. Civil society organisations and cultural actors will be given a predominant role in implementing the different activities.
Who can apply?
- If you represent a local or regional authority, regardless of the size of the city. The application shall be made under the name of a city. This means that applicants may present a program involving their surrounding areas, but the title will be awarded to the city rather than the whole area.
- If you are located in a Member State of the Union for the Mediterranean, regardless of whether the city is on the coast or inland.