On 25th October the Maria Corral Association for Research and Dissemination of Human Values organized the 183rd edition of the European Time Dinner. The event took place in la Fontana in l’Eixample (Barcelona, Spain) and had a particularly close relationship with the content of the Letter of Peace because it focused on the need to dismantle history.
The dinner began with a brief speech given by Jordi Cussó I Porredón, director of the Universitas Albertiana, who then went on to present the remaining guest speakers and coordinate the comments and interjections made by the public during the final part of the gathering.
Cussó remarked upon the parallel relationship between the work done by the Maria Corral Association and the Letter of Peace underlying the importance they both place on ensuring that history does not become a motive for disagreement, hate and conflict . He commented that one of the reasons why UNESCO chose to adopt the Letter of Peace was, in fact, this vision.
Next to speak was Jaume Aymar i Ragolta, doctor of Art History at the University of Barcelona. His presentation focused on how history is taught and the essential role of historians in this process. Aymar highlighted how generation after generation study the past but often repeat the same errors because they do not look at history through a dismantled framework and therefore prejudices are set in place, limiting peace building from the outset.
Mercè Beltran i Rafel, journalist and columnist for La Vanguardia newspaper was the following speaker. Her intervention took a decidedly critical slant on the role of media today and the sense of social responsibility that they have lost in recent years. Beltran remarked upon the informative function that predominates in today’s press to the detriment of the educational function it had occupied in the past. According to the speaker, journalism and history interacts in the following way: the former explains the facts and the latter interprets them.
Joan Carles Melich y Sangra, professor of the Philosophy of Education at the University of Barcelona came next and broached the issue of the relationship between history and historical memory. In his presentation Melich highlighted how memory is a basic faculty of human life that has traditionally been of first rate importance. According to the speaker, it is necessary to retrieve the transcendental role of memory that has been lost over recent years and it must be looked at from an anthropological, ethical and pedagogical point of view.
The final speaker was Francesc Torralba i Rossello, Philosophy professor at Ramon Llull University, who focused on the same subject that had been introduced by the previous speaker. Torralba emphasized the importance of the leading role memory plays along with rationality in the process of building ethics, as well as the need to manage memory effectively in order to prevent it from contaminating the present and obstructing coexistence between people and generations.
A round of comments and questions then took place in which the public contributed personal examples. The plurality of the perspectives that came up in this final phase gave rise to a summing up of the main ideas dealt with and basic conclusions, thereby drawing the proceedings to a close.