King Felipe of Spain this week attended the opening ceremonies for the fifth meeting of the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies 2018 (WOCMES).
Organised by the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation, the conference is taking place from 16 to 20 July in Seville and provides a forum for presentation, debate and sharing of the latest information and studies on the Middle East.
Covering diverse perspectives, from analysis and resolution of conflicts to migration, the environment, culture, media and Al-Andalus studies, the congress is held once every four years. It is considered an “unmissable event” for researchers, professors, students, professionals and students interested in North African and Middle Eastern studies and the impact of other regions of the world on the area.
This year’s prestigious conference will see 3,000 participants from more than 70 events join together in discussion and debate. It follows on from successful past events in Mainz, Germany (2002), Amman, Jordan (2006), Barcelona, Spain (2010), and Ankara, Turkey (2014).
Upon his arrival at the headquarters of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation, King Felipe was greeted by President of the Junta de Andalucía and then escorted to the Central Pavilion Patio to witness the opening ceremonies. Presided over by interpreter and presenter Concha Ortíz, participants and attendees heard speeches from delegate president of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation, André Azoulay, president of the WOCMES International Council, Günter Meyer, and high representative for the United Nations for the Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.
Following a musical performance, His Majesty took to the podium to speak to the assembled guests, saying that Spain’s “cultural and historical legacy predisposes us to make valuable contributions to knowledge, common wisdom and understanding between communities and people of different backgrounds and traditions. And be assured that as King I will always keep this valuable legacy very much in mind and will do everything possible to favor its continuity.”
He added that: “Seville, Andalusia and Spain as a whole are a meeting ground that knows how to combine tradition and vocation for the exchange of ideas with the dialogue between cultures and the construction of bridges.”
After the conclusion of the opening ceremonies, His Majesty signed the Foundation’s Book of Honour.