MEDITERRANEAN. 1994 - 2014 : The Mediterranean Institute is getting ready to celebrate its twentieth birthday. "We wanted to show Europe that Marseille was a part of the Mediterranean at a time when only Barcelona was important”, explains Henry Roux-Alezais, co-founder with Jean-Louis Reiffers of the Mediterranean Institute. The two men came up with the idea of joining forces with partners such as the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the General Council of Bouches-du-Rhône, the City of Marseille and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence. In 2010, Euromed Management will join the founding members.
In order to be recognised by Brussels and in the south as a Euro-Mediterranean bridgehead, the Mediterranean Institute will play a role in two areas: drafting studies and establishing a sphere of influence for FEMISE (Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Science Institutes).
The first task is to convince the European Union that the Institute is capable of dealing with major issues (governance, air pollution, saving energy). Replying to invitations to tender for ERDF programmes, including many won over twenty years, will validate their skills.
Then, we must expand the influence of Provencal experts in the South; and here everything depends on the European invitation to tender that fulfils Europe’s wish to increase the jurisdiction of these countries in economic matters, and allow their leaders to make the right decision to try to become part of globalisation. "Overall, we have achieved these two goals,” says Henry Roux-Alezais. “The FEMISE contract has been renewed three times and we are currently submitting a bid for the fourth invitation to tender. We have now reached a phase where the studies should lead to action, towards supporting project management and advising councillors."
"We must rebuild the Institute"
These changes have already begun with the creation of the Agency for the Development of Sustainable Cities and Regions. Datar, and therefore the French government, are members of this public institution, which will provide decision-makers with training and assistance in project management.
"We must rebuild the Institute, and start again after twenty years! " says its President. The association wants to participate in the development of the economy of culture, in the broad sense, to the release of knowledge within a constrained system and a lack of critical thinking in the Southern Mediterranean.
"Culture is a factor for social cohesion and development. We will create a new scientific committee with senior researchers and produce a founding document to specify cultural perimeters and show their full impact. Then, we will submit it to the European Union and other organisations." This same strategy has already been carried out by Jean-Louis Reiffers when he presented the annual report on the economy of the Mediterranean to the European Union, and enabled the Mediterranean Institute to get started.
"Currently in R&D, we will begin production in January 2014”, says Henry Roux-Alezais, using a metaphor.