Organized by Maecenata Foundation in collaboration with Humboldt – Viadrina Governance Platform, the conference ‘Remember for the Future – The Mediterranean as a Memory Space’ was held in Crete.
Near East Institute Director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Umut KOLDAŞ represented the Near East University at the conference that participated by academics, researchers, historians, cultural activists and representatives of institutions and foundations from different countries including the United States of America, Germany, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Cyprus, Lebanon, Malta, Egypt, Turkey and Greece.
Is Mediterranean a Common Memory Space…….?
Through multidimensional and interdisciplinary approaches, the issues related to the collective and cultural memory associated with the Mediterranean were discussed in light of the economic, social and political backgrounds of the region.
The conference also provided platform to raise issues such as the history of the Mediterranean as a common memory space, the cultural origins of the Mediterranean memory, the development of the commercial relations in the region from the past till now, relations between religion and politics in the Mediterranean, The dynamics that cause the destruction of the common memory ground, the meaning of the Mediterranean for the people of the region and the hopes and fears of the Mediterranean youth regarding the future of the region.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. KOLDAŞ: “In order to form common values in the Mediterranean, first of all, the existential basic requirements need to be met”.
Addressing to the participants at the panel titled ‘The obstacles in the Formation of the Common Ground’, the Near East Institute Director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Umut KOLDAŞ underlined that the transformation of the Mediterranean into a common memory space was not an easy process. Drawing attention to the current transformations witnessed by the region, Assoc. Prof. Dr. KOLDAŞ highlighted the necessity of ensuring humanitarian security which is forefront of basic needs in the Mediterranean. “It is not possible to mention about common values and future unless this need is met. Current events have turned the Mediterranean Sea into a space for escaping and death. Security in the Mediterranean region tops the list for needs of communities living in this region. Today, neither the regional co-operation initiatives like the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue nor the Arab Spring initiatives that considered as revolutionary transformations at the beginning can bring peace, stability and security to the region. While violence is emerging as the main determinant in the region, the region is witnessing some severe events such as the destruction of Syria, struggles for stabilization in reconstructing processes in North Africa, and spreading populist discriminatory statements in European countries having coasts on the Mediterranean. Considering the current situation, it is not easy to construct common values and talk about these values. Certain steps should be taken in order to make the Mediterranean a ground of common values. First of all, the basic needs of people in war-affected or conflict-affected areas should be met. Efforts must be exerted to produce sustainable solutions for migration problem. Common policies and programs should be launched to prevent discriminatory and marginalizing populism. In this regard, while we are solving these problems together, we need to create a Mediterranean awareness and empathy through synergy “said he.