Dialogue, Optimism and Exchange of Cultures in Tripoli

FEBRUARY 19, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) The Iberoamerica festival was announced today during a press conference at Instituto Cervantes in downtown Beirut. The festival, funded by the European Union and organized by Instituto Cervantes in Beirut and Safadi Foundation will be held in Tripoli in Spring 2015.

The conference was held in the presence of the Head of the Sustainable Development Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Mr Marcello Mori, the Director of Instituto Cervantes in Beirut, Mr. Luis Javier Ruiz Sierra, the General Manager of Safadi Foundation, Mr. Riad Alameddine and the ambassadors representing the ten Iberoamerican countries that will participate in the upcoming festival.

Following the welcome remarks, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Safadi Foundation and Instituto Cervantes in addition to a Letter of Support reflecting a symbolic commitment of the participating embassies.

The ambassadors who participated were:

*Ambassador of Mexico, His Excellency Jaime Garcia

* Ambassador of Uruguay, Her Excellency Marta Pizzanelli

* Ambassador of Spain, Her Excellency Milagros Hernando Echevarra

* Ambassador of Paraguay, His Excellency Hassan Khalil Dia

Representatives of embassies were:

* Embassy of Chile, David Quiroga, First Secretary and Consul

* Embassy of Argentina, Marcelo Villani, Counselor

* Embassy of Brazil, Adam Jayme Muniz, Second Secretary

* Honorary Consulate of Peru, Viviane French, Honorary Consul

* Embassy of Venezuela, Jose Antonio Torrealba

* Embassy of Colombia, Monika Kfouri

The Head of the Sustainable Development Section at the Delegation of the European Union, Mr Marcello Mori said that “in times of increasing instability and uncertainty in Lebanon, this project is a vivid example of the will of the Lebanese people to live in peace and to work together to build a better future.”

The Director of Instituto Cervantes, Mr. Luis Javier Ruiz Sierra, said that this project is the result of years of close cooperation with Safadi Foundation which, since 2007, has allowed the expansion of the presence of Instituto Cervantes within the city of Tripoli.

Ruiz Sierra also added that this project comes today in collaboration with the Iberoamerican embassies with which Instituto Cervantes shares a history of collaboration since 1955. He also praised the support of the European Union, which provided all the necessary assistance for the success of this initiative. Furthermore, Ruiz Sierra thanked the General Manager of Safadi Foundation, the Spanish Embassy and all ambassadors for their efforts.

The General Manager of Safadi Foundation Riad Alameddine thanked all supporters, partners and ambassadors. He remarked that despite the cloud of insecurity, violence, poverty and unemployment that has overshadowed the city of Tripoli, Safadi Foundation has believed that a response to these challenges must come from committed, dynamic and focused institutions that believe in the potential of the city of Tripoli and that culture is a fundamental vector for development.

Alameddine emphasized the importance of strengthening the partnership with Instituto Cervantes and expressed great gratitude to the European Union, which is funding this project, for their constant focus on the developmental aspects in the face of Lebanon’s crisis. He concluded by saying:

“We announce today, that in spring 2015, God willing, Tripoli will be the centre of celebration, learning, and dialogue so that we can continue to build a peaceful, cultural and understanding city; a Tripoli worthy of being placed once again on the cultural map of Lebanon.”

The conference was concluded with an open dialogue with the media, followed by a reception