The mayors of some Euro-Mediterranean cities met on June 3rd in Palermo, to start an exchange process with the mayors of some African municipalities, who participated in the event by videoconference. 

On the occasion, Palermo’s city hall hosted the presentation of the program “Rhizome cities. A bridge between Europe and Africa“, coordinated by the Studio Rizoma Foundation and supported by the European Commission. The project is aimed at building virtuous political networks between European and African cities, with the aim of achieving new models of cooperation between Africa and Europe.   

Part of these exchanges will also concern the restitution of African artifacts, as a practice of decolonization. These restitutions will be part of a broader vision that also includes intangible heritage as well as natural resources and artistic interventions, in a way that can transform the old relations between Europe and Africa. 

Souad Abderrahim, mayor of Tunis
Souad Abderrahim, mayor of Tunis

The mayor of Tunis, Souad Abderrahim, also attended the event. 

My presence today in Palermo has the aim of relaunching relations between the city of Tunis and that of Palermo, starting from the Palermo Charter that recognizes mobility as a human right. Mediterranean cities and countries have similar problems, some of which are related to immigration. Intercontinental dialogues are important opportunities for exchange to discuss these common issues and try to find solutions that can be good for all“, said Mayor Souad Abderrahim.   

Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo
Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo

Another issue that is close to my heart – continued Ms. Abderrahim – is related to the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage. There are already cooperation projects underway in this area between Italy and Tunisia. I refer, for example, to the restoration of the Church of the Holy Cross in Tunis. In addition, other projects concerning cultural heritage have been launched with some Italian regions. After all, culture is a vehicle for communication between peoples and represents the symbol of humanity“.  

Yesterday, the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, donated to his counterpart the official medal of the city of Palermo. 

These meetings – said Mr. Orlando – are an expression of the important relationship between Europe and Africa. A relationship that we must build day after day. And Palermo, in this sense, plays a fundamental role thanks to its experience of reception and integration“.