The kind of relations that offer peace a chance in the globalized world can find an inspiring source in the old world of the Levant. This is because, firstly, the Levant has been the cradle of cultural diplomacy for more than a millennium, and secondly because the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires created, each one in their own way, an extended area for change - from goods to ideas - and for cultural dialogue. The Balkans and Southeastern Europe, including Romania, have for a long time maintained contact with regions including, for instance, Northern Africa and the Near East, and their people are exceptionally/particularly experienced in the practice of inter-cultural dialogue.
The Eastern Mediterranean area has fascinated Western Europeans since the Renaissance, from Romanticism to Modernity, (and the admiration for Levant of outstanding names of writers, artists, musicians made them create prodigious visions and impressive literary, artistic and musical works.) The cultural connections between countries in the Balkans, the Middle East and Northern Africa have continued into the second half of the 20th century, even during the Cold War and the dictatorship regimes, through the education of intellectuals in South Eastern European universities and through mutual cultural exchanges. Resuming these connections would present a good opportunity for the diversity of our shared traditions, and provide an alternative to the uniformity fostered by globalization.
All these reasons suggest that it is the right moment for an international conference aimed at setting up joint projects involving researchers in humanistic sciences, writers, artists, architects, and musicians who would create a space of knowledge and understanding through cooperation and mutual respect.
Dr. Emil Costantinescu