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Alexandria and Tirana named 2025 Mediterranean Capitals of Culture and Dialogue

  • Alexandria and Tirana will become the first-ever Mediterranean Capitals of Culture and Dialogue in 2025. The initiative, coordinated by the Union for the Mediterranean and the Anna Lindh Foundation, honours the Euro-Mediterranean region’s cultural diversity while fostering greater mutual understanding and dialogue among its inhabitants.
     
  • Each city will host a yearlong programme of activities, including conferences, sporting events, and cultural performances, that engage with civil society and have a Euro-Mediterranean dimension to them. Both Mediterranean Capitals will also partake in collaborative exchanges.
     
  • A Northern Mediterranean city and a Southern Mediterranean city will be named the Mediterranean Capitals of Culture and Dialogue every year. Applications for the 2026 edition are open until July 7.

Alexandria, Egypt, and Tirana, Albania, will be the first-ever Mediterranean Capitals of Culture and Dialogue in 2025. The initiative, endorsed by the UfM’s 43 Member States, seeks to honour the region’s diversity while also promoting mutual understanding with a yearlong programme of cultural and educational activities in each city.

At the heart of the Balkans and a crossroad of civilisations, Tirana is a testament to the coexistence of cultures, religions, and historical influences across the Mediterranean, while Alexandria, known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean, has a long history of supporting intellectual and cultural creativity. The cities strive to deepen intercultural dialogue, promote the values of tolerance and respect, and create opportunities for cultural exchanges, making them the ideal locations for the launch of the initiative.

UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel said: “In an era of divisive politics and tragic conflicts, the Mediterranean Capitals initiative is proof of the power of culture to build bridges and promote much-needed dialogue. While it is important to acknowledge the differences that make us unique, now more than ever we must find beauty, resilience, and strength in our shared identity as Mediterraneans. The region has limitless potential, but only together can we truly flourish.”

HRH Rym Ali, Anna Lindh Foundation President, added: “At this important turning point in the history of our Euro-Mediterranean region, we are very pleased to announce Tirana and Alexandria as the Mediterranean Capitals of Culture and Dialogue for 2025. This marks a significant milestone in our journey towards fostering Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. Congratulations to Tirana and Alexandria for leading the way in this crucial endeavour in the midst of challenging times.”

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In the framework of this initiative, every year, two cities from the North and the South will be selected as Mediterranean Capitals of Culture and Dialogue. Applications for the 2026 edition are open until July 7, 2024. More information about the call for applications can be found here.

Background
The Euro-Mediterranean region boasts a rich and diverse heritage, shaped by centuries of cultural exchange. A melting pot of different languages, traditions and customs, the region shares a heritage and a deep sense of identity and belonging. In that spirit, the 43 Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean launched the “Mediterranean Capitals of Culture & Dialogue” initiative during their 7th Regional Forum in November 2022.

Based on the call of Ministers of Culture of the Euro-Mediterranean region on 17 June 2022 in Naples, as well as the recommendation of more than 200 young representatives from the civil society of over 20 countries on 7 February 2022 in Marseille, this initiative was shaped to further promote the diversity and shared identity of the Euro-Mediterranean region and contribute to a better mutual understanding of its peoples.
 
About the UfM
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental Euro-Mediterranean organisation which brings together all countries of the European Union and 16 countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean to enhance regional cooperation, dialogue and the implementation of projects and initiatives with tangible impact, to address three overarching strategic regional objectives: stability, development and integration.

About the ALF
The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures (ALF) is an intergovernmental organisation that fulfils an intercultural mission to promote knowledge, mutual respect, and exchange between the peoples of the UfM region. The Foundation works as a network of 43 national networks, gathering more than 4,000 civil society organisations, and plays the role of a facilitator to bring people together, promote dialogue between cultures, nurture shared universal values, and support the participation of citizens in building open and inclusive societies.

Mediterranean Capitals of Culture & Dialogue: A yearlong celebration of Euro-Mediterranean identity and cooperation

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