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Press Release
Octavie Modert participates in the official inaugauration of the Anna Lindh Foundation in Alexandria

Date of release : 22-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

On 20 April, in Alexandria, Egypt, on behalf of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Octavie Modert, Secretary of State for Culture, Higher Education and Research, officially opened the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, along with the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Leila Freivalds, the Republic of Egypt’s Minister for Culture, Mr Farouk Hosny, the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Dr Ismail Serageldin, and the Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, Dr Traugott Schöfthaler. Other participants included Assia Bensalah Alaoui, Director of Research of Mohammad V University in Morocco, and Eneko Landaburo, Director General representing the European Commission.

The Anna Lindh Foundation is the first institution of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership to be located in the Southern part of the Mediterranean region. It was created and funded jointly by all 35 member countries (consisting of the 25 Member States of the European Union and their ten Mediterranean partners). The Foundation's headquarters will be the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in tandem with the Swedish Institute of Alexandria.

In her address, Octavie Modert outlined that the Foundation's purpose is to bring the citizens and organisations of civil society in the entire Euro-Mediterranean region closer together. And she went on to say that: "No better could the ideals of the former Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, the late Anna Lindh, have been consecrated: no dividing gaps but bridges to be built between people and cultures!"

The Foundation is supposed to complete the Barcelona Process which, for the past 10 years, has dedicated itself to the partnership between the countries of Europe and of the Mediterranean, for which it is being called upon to become a cornerstone: The Luxembourg Presidency considers that the creation of the Anna Lindh Foundation is a decisive step in the implementation of the partnership's social, cultural and human dimension, and therefore constitutes major progress on the path to meeting the objectives of the 1995 Barcelona Declaration. The Foundation will considerably increase the Declaration’s visibility by involving civil society. Through dialogue and common actions, people and cultures will become closer to each other: dialogue between cultures, by culture.

The Secretary of State illustrated the Luxembourg Presidency's commitment to the Barcelona Process by noting that from 1 to 3 April this year, Luxembourg hosted the Civil Forum with representatives from the 35 partner countries.

At the 7th Euromed Session of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, to be held in Luxembourg next 30 and 31 May, stock will be taken of the Barcelona Process's accomplishments after almost ten years of work.

The intercultural dialogue as desired by the Anna Lindh Euromed Foundation needs to be built and strengthened with experiences from history: the choice of the City of Alexandria is a perfect illustration of this. The dialogue between cultures and religions will be an important ally in the quest for peace and reconciliation efforts on both sides of the Mediterranean.  And she continued: "Let us oppose all extremism, confront and repudiate racism, xenophobia of all kinds, Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. Let us refute the fallacy of an alleged "Clash of Civilisations" with the affirmative antithesis of the "Alliance of Civilisations", and reaffirm that dialogue - in all forms - is the safest way to prevent conflicts - knowing and understanding each other in full respect of our cultural diversities."

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Swedish Cultural Institute in Alexandria that are hosting the new Foundation are life-spots where tolerance, dialogue and understanding are learned. And the Secretary of State concluded by saying that the Anna Lindh Foundation of Alexandria promises to become the lighthouse of understanding and intercultural dialogue.

Information on the Foundation and its programme is available at the following website:

This page was last modified on : 25-04-2005

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