In Search of a Common Civilization in the East Mediterranean and the Sources of Intolerance (Part 2)
Prof. Franck Salameh, Prof. Yair Hirschfeld and Christodoulos G. Pelaghias
27 November 2021
The Eastern Mediterranean is currently one of the most volatile and conflict-prone places in the world. The region suffers from religious and nationalist radicalization, mass migration, democratic deficit, and poverty. For decades the relations between the countries of the region have been characterized by conflict and deep distrust. And yet, this fragmental approach to the Eastern Mediterranean is a historical oddity. For millennia, this was a region of deep cultural, economic and political integration that rested upon the concept of tolerance. Prof. Franck Salameh, Prof. Yair Hirschfeld and Dr. Christodoulos G. Pelaghias explore the reasons behind the breakdown of the peaceful and tolerant coexistence that once existed in the Eastern Mediterranean.
#EasternMediterranean #Levant #Coexistence
Franck Salameh is a Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Boston College. His fields of specialization are Minorities in the Middle East, Contemporary Middle Eastern History, History of Ideas and Political Thought, and the Literary, Linguistic, Cultural, and Intellectual Traditions of the States of the Levant. His interests include Linguistic Nationalism, Arabism, Zionism, Francophonie, and the history of French and French Missionaries in the Eastern Mediterranean. Salameh is also a memoirist, anthologist, biographer, and translator of poetry and prose from and into Arabic, French, English, Vernacular Lebanese, and Hebrew. His authored books include: Lebanon’s Jewish Community; Fragments of Lives Arrested" (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019), Charles Corm: An Intellectual Biography of a Twentieth-Century Lebanese “Young Phoenician", (Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), Language Memory and Identity in the Middle East; The Case for Lebanon (Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, 2010).
Yair Hirschfeld is an Israeli historian and a former lecturer at the University of Haifa. Since 1979, he has been involved in promoting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. During the 1980ies he organized the confidential dialogue between Shimon Peres with the Palestinian leadership on the West Bank and Gaza. In 1990 he founded together with Yossi Beilin the Economic Cooperation Foundation. He prepared a study that became the conceptual model for the Oslo negotiations. He led the non-official Israeli team in Norway and became then a member of the official Israeli negotiating team leading to the conclusion of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles of September 1993. During the 1990ies Hirschfeld developed concepts and structures for People-to-People activities, as well as working concepts for an Israel-Palestine code of conduct aimed to move from the logic of war, to the logic of peace; a blueprint for Security Permanent Status, and Economic Permanent Status understandings. After the Second Intifada Hirschfeld was instrumental in preparing the way for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation. He was involved in an Israel-Palestine backchannel preparing parameters for negotiations between PM Olmert and President Abbas, an effort that failed. Prof. Hirschfeld is presently involved in pursuing a track two dialogue with Palestinian counterparts on one hand, and with Israeli governmental authorities on the other hand, how best to pursue shared interests in the preparation of a hoped-for renewal of an envisaged political peace-building process. He is heading an Israeli team in a joint Israeli-Palestinian project aimed at promoting Palestinian economic growth. And he is working with a team of experts in order to propose policies aimed at upgrading Israel’s soft power capacities in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea area. His recent publications include: Track Two Diplomacy toward an Israeli-Palestinian Solution, 1978-2014; (Woodrow Wilson Center Press, and John Hopkins University Press 2014), Developing an Israeli Grand Strategy toward a Peaceful Two-State Solution (A compilation of seven essays) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue, Netanya Academic College, October 2016).
Christodoulos G. Pelaghias is the senior partner of Cyprus-based international law practice, with bar admissions in New York and Cyprus. Dr. Pelaghias serves on the Executive Committee of the International Section of the New York State Bar Association. He is president of the Cyprus Council of the European Movement International (EMI), and former member of the Board of Directors of EMI. He is chairman of the European Rim Policy and Investment Council (ERPIC), and has advised the President of the Republic of Cyprus. Dr. Pelaghias holds an M.A. in International Affairs, a Ph.D in Political Science, and a J.D. in Law, from Columbia University.
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