Mediterranean Colloquies

Right from the early 1950s Giorgio La Pira realized the importance and geopolitical role of the Mediterranean basin as a nerve centre of world peace.

The aim and focusing point of the Mediterranean Colloquies was dialogue between the religious families (Jews, Christians, Muslims) seen as an essential contribution to world peace. They later extended their horizons to sub-Saharan Africa, attracting those countries which during the 1960s were breaking free from colonialism.

The First Mediterranean Colloquy took place in October 1958, with the participation, among others, of the French, the Algerians and the Tunisians; of fundamental importance were the informal contacts between the then conflicting parties.

The Second Mediterranean Colloquy took place in October 1960, entitled “The Mediterranean and its Future”, and was centred on the Arab-Israeli problem.

 

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The Third Colloquy, held in May 1961 on the subject of “The Idea of the Mediterranean and Black Africa”, concentrated on the role which the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa should play in the Mediterranean context.

The Fourth Colloquy, in June 1964, entitled “Unity and equality of the human family”, dealt with the peoples still oppressed by colonial regimes (with special regard to Angola and Mozambique) or by racialist systems (South Africa).

In his closing speech La Pira announced a Fifth Colloquy to be concerned with the Arab-Israeli conflict. A Round Table was set up to prepare for it, but then came the fall of the municipal government in Florence which resulted in the election of a different mayor.

The honorary chairmanship of the Colloquies passed to the heir apparent of Morocco. Of the many outstanding figures who took part in the many meetings we may mention Martin Buber, Taha Hussein, Jean Amrouche and the president of Senegal, Léopold Senghor.

Some quotations from the speeches by La Pira can be reached clicking here