Inter-cultural dialogue
© Your Middle East, Moha Ennaji
Inter-cultural dialogue
Last updated: August 22, 2015

Amazigh culture and the encouragement of self-criticism, education and intercultural dialogue (PHOTOS)

Banner Icon Professor Moha Ennaji reflects on a festival that highlights the contribution of Amazigh culture in the consolidation of peace, democracy, development and modernity.

The eleventh edition of the International Festival of Amazigh (Berber) Culture, held this July in Fez, Morocco, brought together 14 nationalities and thirty speakers and writers, like Fawzia Zouari and Salwa Hamrouni (Tunisia), Jean-Marie Simon and Enza Palamara (France), Djibril Ly (Mauritania), Moha Souag Mohamed Nedali and Kabbal Maati (Morocco), Johan Goud and Jan Jaap de Ruiter (Netherlands), Mohamed Benrabeh, Belkcem Boumdini and Hadriya Nebia (Algeria), Murat Bilhan (Turkey), Keith Martin (USA), Moha Ennaji and Fatima Sadiqi (Morocco) to highlight the role of Amazigh culture as a culture of sharing, hospitality and exchange. The international forum also focused on the positive impact of intercultural and inter-faith dialogue on social peace, modernity, democracy, and sustainable development.

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PARTICIPANTS discussed themes such as Amazigh civilization and heritage in North African culture, Amazigh identity and writing, social representations of cultures and religions, dialogue between cultures, prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as the role of alliances of cultures and religions in maintaining peace. The forum pleaded to make cultural diversity a lever for economic, social and cultural integration.

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FOR ITS 11TH anniversary, the festival has offered no less than eighteen concerts. Some 120 artists and musicians representing different regions of Morocco, Algeria, Italy, and Spain have participated in this festival, which also included exhibitions of books, paintings, and art, in addition to panel discussions and workshops on painting and storytelling.

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Participants made the following recommendations:

1) Emphasis of the central role of the Amazigh language and culture as vectors of universal values ​​of intercultural and interfaith dialogue.

2) Strengthening common values ​​shared by the three monotheistic religions.

3) Developing inter-civilizational and intercultural understanding as essential rampart against the rise of religious extremism.

4) Strengthening respect for gender equality and the preservation of social integration.

5) Encouraging the values ​​of peace and understanding, especially among school children through textbooks.

6) Fostering self-criticism and work on people's mentality as a method of conflict prevention and resolution.

7) Diminishing the impact of wild economic globalization.

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Moha Ennaji
Moha is President of the South North Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Migration Studies in Morocco. He is professor of gender and cultural studies at Fès University. His most recent book is titled Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe (Palgrave-Macmillan 2014).
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