Amazigh: International Festival in Fez Celebrates Cultural Dialogue and Diversity
Photo Courtesy of: Brad Hammonds 2013 @Flickr
From 15 to 17 July 2016, a festival entitled “Amazighness and the Mediterranean: Living Together” took place in Fes, Morocco. Being the twelfth edition of the ‘Fez Festival of Amazigh Culture’ series, this year’s successful event was not only an occasion to celebrate the richness of Amazigh culture, but also to look at the importance and immense benefits of fully recognizing it as an integral part of Mediterranean culture at large.
Below is an article published by Morocco World News:
The 12th International Fez Festival of Amazigh Culture, held in Fez from 15 to 17 July, 2017 on the theme “Amazighness and the Mediterranean: Living Together”, has just ended its sessions.
The festival, organized by the Fez-Saiss Association and the South-North Centre, in collaboration with the Spirit of Fez Foundation, registered an unprecedented success at the academic, artistic, and organizational levels. It highlighted the positive impact of cultural dialogue and cultural diversity on the social cohesion and peace in the Mediterranean region.
The high caliber participants in the international forum used various disciplines, including history, political science, sociology, and human sciences to underline the various facets of the interaction between the Amazigh and Mediterranean cultures. The discussions covered the artistic creation, Amazigh heritage, popular culture, civilization, multiculturalism, multilingualism, education, as well as the relationship between Amazigh and Islam, democracy, modernity, social change, the fight against extremism, violence in the region, dialogue, conflict resolution, migration, and the refugee problem.
In all these discussions, the forum highlighted the contribution of the Amazigh culture to peace, democracy, development and modernity. It pleaded to making cultural diversity an integration a genuine lever for the economic, social, and cultural development.
More than a hundred artists and musicians representing different regions of Morocco, as well as friends of the festival from ten countries participated in this edition through exhibitions of books, art, paintings, carpets, as well as roundtables and workshops on painting, writing and storytelling.
The last evening of the festival ended in a festive atmosphere. Thousands of festivalgoers filled the beautiful and historic Bab Makina, which vibrated with Mediterranean rhythms. All tastes were satisfied by the Italian group Laparanza Del Geco, Saleh Oulbacha from Souss and the star of Moroccan singing, Nouaman Lahlou, who brightened up this unforgettable evening. The participants in the international forum made the following recommendations:
1) Emphasize the central role of the Amazigh language and culture as vectors of the universal values of living together
2) Strengthen and support the common values of the monotheistic religions.
3) Enhance intercultural and intercivilizational understanding as bulwarks against the rise of extremism.
4) Strengthen gender equality by strengthening social integration.
5) Reform textbooks with a view of encouraging living together and respect of diversity.
6) Teach interaction and exchange among civilizations.
7) Teach the history of religions with the view of comparing religions in their historical contexts.
8) Focus on the values of peace and coexistence.
9) Separate religion from politics and strengthen the separation of powers.
10) Consolidate democratic culture and the values of freedom, and strengthen cooperation between the Mediterranean countries in order to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development.