Saturday, June 09, 2012

Fès Festival Forums - Day One

Joining The View From Fez team to cover the Fes Forums is Vivian Nguyen.

Vivian is a Master Of Arts in Global Communications student at the American University of Paris. Originally from Seattle, she is visiting Fez as one of eight students who aim to practice their skills in blogging, writing and film editing.

"I am particularly interested in the intellectual debate that surrounds the Muslim religion and Fez itself," says Vivian. "A lot of the topics of the Fes Forums focus on how modernity is permeating the traditional culture of Morocco. There is a lot of critical discussion going on."
Topics the Fes Forums will explore include Sunday's session on "The future after the Arab Spring" and Tuesday's on "Financial crisis or civilisational crisis?"

The forums are held at from Saturday to Wednesday at 9.30 am at the Batha Museum, with an additional Wednesday session at 3pm in the Seminar Room at Palais Jamai. More information about the forums is here: Fès Forums

Taking part: Leili Anvar, Edgar Morin, Salamatou Sow, Bertrand Vergely.
“Arguers”: Younès Ajarraï, Saida Bennani, Frederic Ferney, Simon Xavier Guerrand Hermès.

The Fes Forums are always well attended


Bertrand Vergely

French philosopher and theologian, Bertrand Vergely stood proud at the glass podium before an audience of international Festival goers at the Batha Museum. His hands gestured passionately in the air as he regaled the audience with his intellectual thought on the essence of beauty.

"Why do we live?" asked Vergely. "We live because it is beautiful. Beauty is the reason of the world".

This notion of beauty played a focal point in today's Forum--a series of philosophical discussions and debates concerning ideological, political, and social topics centered around the Forum's theme of Giving a Soul to Globalization. The Forum will run for five days during the run of the Festival.

Today's discussion, titled "The poet and the city", highlighted not just the beauty but the power of words in leading a society through the turmoils and crises of life, as well as understanding how beauty allows man to become a more self-aware, knowledgable, and moral person.

After Vergely finished speaking, the panel opened up to a discussion among today's discussers: Younès Ajarraï, Saida Bennani, Frederic Ferney, Simon Xavier Guerrand-Hermès, Leili Anvar, and Salamatou Sow. These discussers, whom hail across a variety of disciplines, responded to Vergely's thought by offering their own opinion to the discussion.

"The poet is someone who describes and looks at the world," said Ferney, a French writer and essayist, reflecting on the responsibility of the poet to society.

"He is someone who introduces a place of beauty in life ... The poet is someone who forces us to say, 'Yes, this is the power of words and literature. Yes to life. And yes to the moment,' because we live in a world where the idea of beauty is possible".

Faouzi Skalli, Director General of the Spirit of Fès Foundation, also hosted the panel. He offered his own commentary to the panel, claiming that the poet also serves as a reminder to preserve the essence of the self.

"I think there is a notion that people have forgotten the notion of the self ... So, the question of the self is important especially when poetic expression is happening".

Hèrmes also built off of this thought by discussing the power and transformation of literature in terms of personal identity. "Wisdom and knowledge is useless unless you can transform this knowledge into something useful to the self," said Hèrmes. Words, he claims, must be made tangible in order to reclaim and understand the self.

It was a powerful conclusion to the first day of the Forum and continued to build off of the Festival's overall theme to Re-enchant the world through the beauty and power of words.

Discussion went on well after the session - Photo Vivian Nguyen

Tomorrow's panel is titled, "The future after the Arab spring," and will begin at 09h00 at the Batha Museum. For more information about the Forum, please visit

See also: Vivian's reports
Fes Forums Day One
Fes Forums Day Two
Fes Forums Day Three


Festival Programme
Festival in the City
Sufi Nights
Festival Forums
Festival Eating Guide
Art during the Festival #1
Art during the Festival #2
The Enchanted Gardens of Fez
Last Minute Accommodation


No comments: