Project of monitoring and assessment of the activity of the Local Action Group of 14 Sicilian municipalities, 2018-2020

MUNCH
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In 2016 fourteen Sicilian municipal governments of the metropolitan region of Messina set up a local partnership, known as a ‘Local Action Group’ (LAG), in Italian named GAL Tirrenico. GALs are an original and important feature of the EU LEADER (‘Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie Rurale‘ meaning  'links between the rural economy and development actions’) approach. According to UE guidelines, GALs “have the task of identifying and implementing a local development strategy, making decisions about the allocation of its financial resources and managing them. GALs are likely to be effective in stimulating sustainable development. GALs associate public and private partners, and must be well-balanced and representative of the existing local interest groups, drawn from the different socioeconomic sectors in the area”. In February 2017 GAL Tirrenico proposed to MUNCH to monitor and assess projects that they plan to implement in the near future. They are spatial planning policies to conserve and enhance the historical urban heritage and cultural landscapes, projects to develop cultural activities and  programs to promote and support social inclusion. All of them are consistent with SDGs2030. The analysis and evaluation of how these programs are implemented enable to assess the way they develop in real legal and political contexts and how the institutional, financial and organizational constraints limit them. The results of this monitoring and evaluation process make it possible to define more effective and efficient strategies and procedures for implementing specific SDGs. They can also suggest solutions that can be applied in other cases. On May 10-12, 2017 a first exploratory visit by Paolo Ceccarelli and Enrico Fontanari...

Conference on the Past, Present and Future of the Mediterranean Region, 2019

MUNCH
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Some of the Chairs belonging to MUNCH suggested checking the possibility of organising in 2019 an important international conference on the Mediterranean. Aim of the conference would be to examine the processes that during history have brought in contact (and often a conflictive one) rather different civilisations, producing the reciprocal contamination and cultural enrichment that has made this region of the world absolutely unique. These historical analyses should be integrated by a reflection on the present and the outlining of possible political, socio-economic and cultural scenarios for the near future. The conference should involve among the most important historians, archaeologists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, but also writers, film-makers, artists who deal at an international level of the Mediterranean. Ideal venue for the conference, because of its geographical location and its history seemed to be Sicily (it was colonised for centuries by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French, Spanish and hosted important Jewish communities) and namely the city of Palermo, where the evidence of these diverse cultural layers are still visible. Contacts have been taken with the Mayor of Palermo, Dr. Leoluca Orlando, who is particularly concerned about cultural issues and exchanges among different cultures. The first reaction has been positive, it is now a matter of defining a more precise proposal allowing to evaluate the conference both in relation to the quality of its contents and in financial and organisational terms. Also, a scientific committee needs to be established and potential participants contacted, checking their availability. The preliminary proposal will be...

International seminar on “Good practices in migrants’ acceptance and inclusion in the Mediterranean Region”, Badolato, Calabria (Italy), April 12-14, 2018

MUNCH
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In the night of December 26, 1997, a Turkish floating wreck called Ararat carrying 825 Kurd refugees (660 men, 84 women e 81 children) from Siria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Lebanon seeking for asylum, runs aground on the Ionian coast of Calabria close to Badolato, a hilly village (3,000 inhabitants) overlooking the sea. This is the first arrival in Europe of such a number of refugees from the Middle East. To face this emergency the Mayor mobilizes local inhabitants who cooperate in rescue and acceptance. This makes it possible to face immediate needs but it is also the first stage of a process of acceptance that, in spite of many difficulties (Badolato is a small community, with limited resources) becomes a reference for many other similar “cases” in Italy and in other European countries. Following the decision taken - during the MUNCH meeting held in Siena at the end of January, 2017 - to approach and discuss the problem of acceptance and inclusion of migrants in the Mediterranean area, contacts were established during the past Summer with the Municipality of Badolato and the Calabria Regional Government as to the possibility of holding in Badolato an international seminar addressing these issues. MUNCH considers relevant to go back to the Badolato experience of the Ararat cargo, twenty years after it happened. It is an important opportunity for considering processes of migrations and the contradictory experiences of acceptance and inclusion which, at the turn of this century, have characterized - and still mark - the Mediterranean area.  It is also important that peripheral components  of...

Walled Cities, Open Societies – Siena, January 2017

MUNCH
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The conservation of walled cities. A theoretical, methodological and operational challenge The workshop “Walled Cities, Open Societies. Managing Historic Walls in Urban World Heritage Properties” held in Siena on January 26-27, 2017 has been an opportunity to examine and discuss important aspects of conservation of heritage, and its role and use in present societies. Its outcomes are relevant for developing the activity of MUNCH, but also for further theoretical, methodological and technical advancements in the field of conservation. The following text summarizes the main issues introduced by the concept papers of the three panels and the debate developed in the workshop. Meanings and values of the city walls In many regions of the world city walls are a common heritage property. They have had an important role in shaping ancient cities and in setting their relationship with the surrounding rural environment, and later with urban developments. They are properties of relevant extension that often face serious conservation problems originated by construction techniques and materials. In addition to being an important heritage that requires proper preservation, city walls have a strong symbolic value. They can be seen as protection of a local community, a defence of its identity, but also as a tool for excluding “others”, segregating minorities and dominating territories. This applies to extended artifacts such as the Great Wall in China or Hadrian’s Wall in England, but also to small sites such as the fortified Arab towns in North Africa or the French Bastides; the European ghettos or the Asiatic seigneurial compounds. The...