BEIRUT: A delegation from the 12th Euro-Mediterranean Intercultural Dialogue on the Phoenicians’ Route visited Sidon’s heritage sites Friday to highlight the city’s significance in Mediterranean history.
The dialogue, hosted by the Lebanese American University’s Louis Cardahi Foundation at its Jbeil headquarters in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry and the Council of Europe, is an annual event that highlights ancient Phoenician routes to promote dialogue between Mediterranean countries.
Future Movement MP Bahia Hariri met Friday’s delegation along with Sidon Mayor Mohammed Saudi, south Lebanon coordinator for the Future Movement Nasser Hammoud and president of Sidon’s Observatory for Social Impact Ola Hariri.
MP Hariri welcomed the delegation and stressed the importance of reviving the Phoenicians’ Route project in order to promote Euro-Mediterranean cultural cooperation and interaction. Certified by the Council of Europe as a “cultural route” in 2003, the Phoenicians’ Route is part of the council’s intercultural dialogue initiative designed to revitalize tourism across select locations in the Mediterranean basin.
Hariri noted Sidon’s significance in ancient and modern history as a Phoenician city that was the starting point of interaction between East and West. Sidon is one of the nine major settlements included in the Phoenicians’ Route, which also passes through Tripoli, Anfeh, Batroun, Byblos, Jounieh, Beirut, Tyre and Baalbeck.
Saudi gave a profile of the most prominent cultural and heritage projects that Sidon Municipality had carried out in the old city, one of the few remaining inhabited historical cities.
In addition to showcasing ancient Phoenician routes, the broader goal of the Euro-Mediterranean Intercultural Dialogue is to “tackle the unprecedented challenges in the region, particularly those affecting youth - unemployment, radicalization, migration - by fostering dialogue among the younger generations and improving inter-cultural relations.”
According to the EU, the project is the largest single gathering of actors working on intercultural dialogue, involving civil society groups from almost 50 countries alongside international organizations.