The “Muslim-Arab Legacy to the West” project aims to strengthen bonds between and within Arab-Muslim and European societies to enhance mutual understanding through a new reading of history and of the Mediterranean culture which has hosted, developed and transmitted a millenary legacy which has benefited the world, starting with Renaissance Europe.
The content of the project’s evolving platform (http://www.muslimarablegacy.net) builds on the ”Intercultural Vademecum”, elaborated within the framework of the “Memo of Understanding” between UNESCO and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (2010-2012), thanks to the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation. Themes such as the voices and paths of knowledge, circulation of ideas in the Mediterranean world, top places of knowledge and momentum for dialogue, notably on science, philosophy, literature and art history — without neglecting the role of geographers, travelers, or translators — are explored.
A special emphasis is placed on the need to acknowledge, with the greatest possible scientific objectivity, the intense interactions between all the shores of the Mediterranean, without overlooking the connections with neighbouring cultures, such as those of India, Persia, Arabia and Africa.
The uniqueness of the “Muslim-Arab Legacy to the West” platform stems from its focus on Muslim-Arab contributions to the renewal of Western thought and culture. The texts presented on this website strive to demonstrate the connections between this heritage and the West. Rather than being exhaustive, it is a foundation stone, a “call for contributions”. The platform is an open, constantly evolving website, with the same philosophy as Wikipedia, ready to absorb data from the entire world, to enrich this content. Two ambitious pieces of work are key to this corpus of a hundred articles, written by twenty eminent international experts:
I. “A scientific, philosophical, literary and artistic anthology of the Arab-Islamic world and its contribution to the renewal of Western thought and culture” (compiled in 2013-2014).
II. “A philosophical look at Muslim/Arab civilization: accounts of routes, encounters, bridges and dialogues” (pedagogical material for the promotion of dialogue, published in 2010).
Therefore, the “Intercultural Vademecum” provides a wide audience (especially young people, teachers and journalists) with access to content on continuously renewed knowledge through ongoing intercultural exchanges. A specific focus is given to audio-visual content through this website. The resources presented in this platform arise from the work of an expert committee. The papers have been assembled by Yves Winkin, scientific editor.
We would like to thank all the contributors whose names appear on this website, who have mobilized their knowledge to highlight the multiple dimensions of Muslim-Arab culture, its contributions and its borrowings from other horizons. The Éditions des Archives Contemporaines have published online this corpus of articles and the illustration of this academic compendium through a travelling exhibition and its catalogue, created within the framework of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue (2013 -2016) and the generous contribution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The travelling exhibition contains eight panels, reflecting the critical topics of this digital anthology. In addition to the two introductory panels, the exhibition informs visitors on the lasting Muslim-Arab contribution to the renewal of Western thought in science and technology, on the places of knowledge and exchange, on the conveyors of knowledge and culture, in medical science, art and literature and even in philosophy. Trilingual (English, French and Arabic) like its catalogue, the exhibition invites us to consult the online multilingual digital content (in French and in English) for additional information, as well as the video and graphic contents available for Internet users. This exhibition is not only a result, but also a starting point of a project devoted to the development of intercultural competencies, one of the major pillars of the ”International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures” (2013-2022) coordinated by UNESCO.