Altremaree, a music festival in Floridia, Sicily was the idea of Floridian Councilor for Culture, Claudia Cipriano, who had a vision of unity: east meets west in a celebration of music and culture. When celebrations of this sort take place, people begin to see the similarities in eachother and not the differences. Music is a universal language, one that you need not be educated in; music only asks that you respond to it and enjoy it.
The Tunisian Artistic Director, Ramzi Harrabi,who received honorable for
Intercultural Dialogue Mediterranea, worked with Claudia’s vision in order to blend the Italian culture with Tunisian culture. This was done in surprising and often ingenious ways. For instance, a “casbah” was constructed within a mini-eastern district, placed in the heart of Floridia, including Berber tents and other aspects of Tunisian culture.
Tunisian immigration is very prominent in Sicily, thus necessitating the constant interaction between Sicilians and Tunisians that span all aspects of both business and social situations. This festival has brought together business people, artists, designers, and others in a week-long cultural exchange. Events were inventive and fun, including cooking classes, poetry readings, dance classes and some events specifically targeted to children.
Claudia Cipriano sees the importance of reaching the younger generation in order to foster an environment of acceptance and understanding of different cultures and seeking to dismantle the old preconceived notions of immigrants in generations that have come before. This event involved children from the Youth Council,whose participation is seen as a positive step towards the awareness and acceptance of a more open society that goes way beyond the confines of Floridia itself, and out into the world.
While heavy rain fell on Sunday , nothing could dampen the great strides the festival will have undoubtedly made towards cultural awareness and interfaith understanding. Smart women like Claudia Cipriano know that effects of such a festival can influence so many people in so many places, for the good of all.