My lecture in Rome: Pathways for the Mediterranean Future

Yesterday I gave a speech in Rome at the Annual Scholar’s Conference organized by ‎the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. The Conference this year was dedicated to ‎discussions, workshops and lectures presenting ‘Perspectives of the Mediterranean’. ‎Over 100 participants engaged in a great learning experience thanks to the excellent ‎organization, including high profile keynote speakers and highly skilled scholars; and I ‎had the chance to lecture on two alternative development pathways for the Euro-‎Mediterranean region, namely a regional creative economy and a mapping of regional ‎ecosystems in terms of economic and social opportunity costs.‎
These two pathways tackle two key issues for our Mediterranean future: one is cultural ‎diversity; the other, biodiversity.‎

I would like to share a short story that I used as an intro to set the scene for my lecture; ‎a story about a man called Filippo Lippi:‎

‎“Filippo was a Renaissance painter of the Quattrocento (the 15th century in Italy). His ‎name might not ring a bell to many outside Italy; after all he is not Giotto, Raphael or ‎Botticelli. ‎

When he was a young man, Filippo was kidnapped by Barbary pirates and taken to the ‎Maghreb, before he was finally set free. This experience marked him, and it shows in ‎some of his artworks, like the Barbadori Altarpiece in which, if we zoom in, we would ‎see pseudo-kufic writing on the mantle of the Virgin. It is a decorative motif that is ‎meant to imitate the Kufic script used sometimes in writing Arabic, but it is not Arabic, ‎and it is most definitely not writing at all to start with. ‎

Filippo Lippi had captured only the aesthetic quality of the Arabic writing, rather than ‎its cultural essence. In addition to paintings, Pseudo-Kufic motifs were also used in the ‎decoration of several Mudejar palaces in Spain and Norman palaces in Sicily, among ‎other places. The story about Filippo Lippi was related to us by Vasari, a famous artist ‎and art historian, and I use it as a metaphor on what both shores of the Mediterranean ‎have been doing repeatedly: approaching the Mediterranean question in a way that ‎emphasizes the style rather than the substance.”‎

Finally, my sincere thanks to Dr. Frank Habermann and Patrizia Ianiro from the ‎Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes for the great effort and dedication. Congratulations for an ‎excellent Conference. ‎

Barbadori Altarpiece - Filippo LippiFilippo Lippi - ZoomThe Italian Centre of German Studies

2 thoughts on “My lecture in Rome: Pathways for the Mediterranean Future

  1. Mohammed, Thanks.  There is always something to learn from you.  George Saliba

    Malta

    Tel: (356) 2163 7466 Mobile: (356) 9923 073   Spain   Office:     (0034)  935214107 Mobile:    (0034)  34654102016 Home:     (0034)  934053938  From: Camel76 To: gbsaliba@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 1:09 PM Subject: [New post] My lecture in Rome: Pathways for the Mediterranean Future #yiv9632422292 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9632422292 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9632422292 a.yiv9632422292primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9632422292 a.yiv9632422292primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9632422292 a.yiv9632422292primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9632422292 a.yiv9632422292primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9632422292 WordPress.com | camel76 posted: “Yesterday I gave a speech in Rome at the Annual Scholar’s Conference organized by ‎the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. The Conference this year was dedicated to ‎discussions, workshops and lectures presenting ‘Perspectives of the Mediterranean’. ‎Ov” | |

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