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The Universal Forum of Cultures — Naples 2013

 I don't know who did the "volcano hands"
graphic; they deserve a prize!

Of all the stylized graphics of Mt. Vesuvius I have seen, this one (photo, right) is near the top of my list. It is the logo of the Universal Forum of Cultures—Naples 2013. It's ingenious: the volcano is Naples; the multi-ethnic group of hands reaching up to form the slope and cone—that is universality. They are reaching up towards the future; the slogan of the 2013 Forum, indeed, is: “The Memory of the Future: knowing one's roots for planning a common future”. All in all, it is an eloquent icon for the Forum to be held in Naples for three months in 2013. It is to be—in the words of a fancy and well-done (except for some of the English) .pdf file running around the internet:

"...a key event, in the course of which cultures and citizens from around the world will meet and engage in dialogue in an atmosphere of openness and creativity...the ideal forum for celebrating human diversity and for discovering common points of interest amidst a plethora of differing opinions...The meeting of cultures could be the perfect occasion for dialogue and celebration and for a reflection on the search for new ideas to help humanity create a better world."

As with the earlier editions in Barcelona, Monterrey (Mexico), and Valparaiso, Naples will strut its stuff to show how it is attempting to create a livable and pleasant city amidst some absolutely staggering social ills. Particular attention will be paid to the western end of the city; i.e. the Campi Flegrei and Bagnoli and the redevelopment of the impressive Overseas Fair Ground (the Mostra d'Oltemare), the ex-Italsider steel mill and adjacent coastline, and the premises of what the brochure calls the Bank of Naples Children's Foundation, a 40-hectare (about 100 acres) piece of property that started life in 1940 as a "Young People’s College" named Colleggio Ciano (named for Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law); it housed and educated about 2,500 boys. After WWII, the premises —again, according to the .pdf I am staring atwere refurbished and "designated as a managerial and administrative centre." Here endeth the blurb. I am not sure why they would neglect to tell you that the premises have long been the home of what used to be called AFSouth (Allied Forces Southern Europe), now called JFC (Joint Forces Command)—i.e., it's the NATO base in Naples. I suppose any mention of that doesn't fit in with the Peace, Love & Kumbayah spirit of helping "humanity create a better world." In any event, NATO is building a new base further up the coast and should be out of there soon. I think 2013 is optimistic, however.

[update: March 2012, they made it!]

In the main part of the city, there will discussions, theater, festivals and concerts galore. A special stand, “Napul’ è” ("Naples is..."—the title of a popular song by local singer songwriter, Pino Daniele) will be set up to be an "interactive environment" where various aspects of the culture, history and traditions of Naples can be displayed.

I really do want this to work. They have two years to figure out how not to disappoint me.

update: 2014. It finally happened!

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