Strabon: Scientific and Technical Cooperation Program
STRABON is a multilingual multimedia information system for the promotion of cultural heritage and the Euro-Mediterranean tourism industry. It takes concrete expression in the form of a methodological and technological platform for digital publishing, which can be accessed online at www.strabon.org.
Within the framework of the EUMEDIS Initiative, launched in 2002 by the European Commission, the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris organized a consortium which consisted of representatives from ministries, institutions, universities, and private businesses. Its goal was to develop a “multilingual multimedia information system for promoting cultural heritage and the Euro-Mediterranean tourism industry.”
STRABON is a program that promotes technical and scientific cooperation between countries on the north, south and eastern coasts of the Mediterranean. The program’s goal is to reduce gaps in knowledge, competencies, and experience between northern and southern countries when it comes to using new information technologies, gaps which are growing wider with each passing day.
STRABON’s main objective is to enable countries on the Mediterranean rim to unite forces to express their cultural identity, while developing their national legacies and cultures on the worldwide web.
Cultural Diversity and Reconciliation with the Past
A culture’s heritage is rooted in the past but lives in the present. We use it to construct our individual and collective identities. We are therefore responsible for it. It is up to us to preserve and keep it alive, to make it accessible, and to use it for making cultural policy. This is also a way for the countries and cultures in the Mediterranean region to reconcile with their unique pasts. This has to do with learning about cultural diversity and, of course, that requires respecting and understanding the Other and the Self. All of these are key aspects of the Strabon program.
The resources that the Strabon partners’ group strives to develop represent a unique and inalienable groups of assets, which is proper to each of the countries in the consortium, since all this has to do with elements from their own natural, cultural, environmental, artistic, traditional and historical elements…
The moral dimension of this step is maintained, above all, by the fact that it presumes the impossibility of culture appropriating for itself patrimonial resources that are, in fact, inalienable, and which therefore can only be shared equitably. The acknowledgment of a cultural legacy, and the establishment of a needed policy in terms of its development and preservation are thus the preliminary conditions for the emergence of an ethical tourism industry. The indissoluble group of patrimonial testimonies that serve as the foundation of a country’s history and identity is typified by a heritage that is constituted by tangible and intangible cultural assets whose transmission has weaved a link between past and present generations.
Therefore, a country’s identity is made stronger when this cultural heritage is considered a social asset that past and present generations transmit or will transmit to the future.
Patrimonial assets do not lend themselves to appropriation by any individual or interest group. They are, by nature, shared assets and should be managed in an interdependent and honest way in the perspective of a sustainable and fair economy.
Jean-Luc LORY, (CNRS/FMSH-DEVAR), 2002