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The Mediterranean Multicultural Forum 4-7 May 2017

The Forum is an academic and public encounter that wishes to encourage, support, and disseminate research activities in the field of Mediterranean Studies. It is hosted by the University of Ottawa.

The Mediterranean Multicultural Forum is the second edition of the three day Mediterranean Forum held in Sulmona, Italy in June 2015. On that occasion, 15 scholars and professionals representing countries from the Mediterranean Basin met in Sulmona to discuss a myriad of issues relating to an area that has been called the barometer of world politics. Topics on that occasion ranged from culture to politics, from cinema to poetry, included anthropology and science, and also explored the world of contemporary Mediterranean business praxis.

The 2017 Ottawa edition has been renamed Mediterranean Multicultural Forum because of its location in the social model of multiculturalism, Canada, but also due to the multicultural identity of the peoples that inhabit the Mediterranean region. As such, the Forum promises to be a worthy successor to its counterpart held in Italy. It will provide a platform for the free exchange of information and knowledge between scholars and professionals from the very countries and cultures being discussed and encourage a continuing public forum for lasting solutions.

 

Often at the center stage of world events and politics, the Mediterranean Basin has often been called the barometer of world politics. The ancient Greeks regarded the Mediterranean as a major physical obstacle separating the continents of the world: Europe in the north, Africa to the south, Asia in the east. While these three continents share the shoreline of this historically volatile area, today they are the practical crossroads towards the consolidation of a new socio-politics. In this expanse of often windswept landscapes, ancient peoples, diverse cultures, different economic conditions, and contending monotheistic religions prosper and collide. Here, ancient mores clash with modern sensibilities, and here, all too often, contemporary world powers fight proxy wars of attrition. While the current emerging democratic states are engaging an evolving dialogue with the larger European Economic Union, an entrenched demagogic hierarchy fights an irredentist battle that risks bathing the area in a bloodbath of terrorism. Tensions are rife; future consequences unknowable.

Because of its naturally multicultural heart, the Forum fosters an interdisciplinary nature and will attract scholars and professionals from the fields of Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, Comparative Studies, Feminist Studies, Cinema Studies and Cinematography, Art History, Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science, Linguistics, Geography, History, and Economics.

The range of topics embrace a panoply of issues that investigate the customary behaviors, cultural assumptions and values, patterns of thinking, communicative styles, modes of social interface, political activity and inter-nation relations, local environmental prerogatives, and finally, the tragedy of migration. As an index of contemporary scholarship, the Forum will provide a broad platform for discussions that span the entire Mediterranean spectrum.

It is hoped that by providing an intellectual venue that recognizes the commonality and co-existence of divergent racial, religious, ethnic, political, historical, and cultural groups within the geographical space of the Mediterranean Basin, our discussions will engage forum players in a lively prerequisite to the shared political, social, cultural, economic, and humanitarian challenges necessary to identify and attenuate the rarefied motivations and all too often ephemeral divisions that divide the individual countries of the Mediterranean littoral.