The Vicino/Lontano Festival has, since its very beginnings, been closely linked to the figure of the late journalist and writer Tiziano Terzani, to whose memory the Festival’s annual literary prize is dedicated. Held over four days in May, the Festival, which in 2016 will celebrate its 12th edition, encompasses a broad range of initiatives and events, including debates, discussion forums, seminars, lectures, exhibitions, performances and screenings. These events take place across the city in some of its most striking, historical buildings and attract a large and enthusiastic public. Here, scholars, journalists, writers and artists of international renown, gather together to analyze the economic, social, cultural, and geopolitical trends currently impacting our globalized world and, in the process, attempt to reach a better understanding of the forces and mechanisms driving global change and how these are likely to shape future realities.
Vicino and lontano, meaning ‘near’ and ‘far’, are not merely geographical and multicultural indicators, words to describe a world in which distances are constantly shrinking, bringing worlds near and far ever closer together. Here, within the context of the Vicino/lontano project, they are intended as prism through which to interrogate that world, to subject it to cross-analysis from a range of perspectives, be they economic, philosophical, social or existential, with the aim of finding a common language or common points of reference which will help guide us through the increasingly complex landscape in which we find ourselves. However, ‘vicino’ and ‘lontano’ are also to be understood as points on a compass, the personal compass of each and every one of us, the critical means with which to confront the difficulties of living with ‘diversity’ and, should we succeed, avoid being conditioned by the simplistic, one-size-fits-all logic favoured by the media and the crushing defeatism and inertia it engenders.
Pier Aldo Rovatti, philosopher, member of the Scientific Committee
Translation by Amanda Hunter