Rome and Jerusalem, between heaven and earth

Local: 6:30 pm
Paris: 6:30 pm
French Institute-Saint Louis Centre Largo Toniolo 22, Rome, IT
French / Italian, English


Under the aegis of the Embassy of France to the Holy See

and the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem

Co-organized by the French Institute of Jerusalem and the French Institute Centre Saint-Louis


The Night of Ideas

CLOSE " Rome and Jerusalem, between heaven and earth "

January 28, 2021


Symbolic cities. Crossroads cities. Cities between heaven and earth. Holy cities that, since their foundation, have been traversed by human stories, weight and intrigue. Heritage cities whose stones, buildings, palaces and basilicas bear witness to the age-old hopes of pilgrims of all faiths. Cities of promised and always fragile reconciliations. Cities of conversations and controversies... Rome and Jerusalem.


These two cities with a universal vocation continue to think about the challenges of our time: finally, holiness does not consist in magically solving everything but in confronting, in all its difficulties, the limits of our common humanity. This Night of Ideas will attempt to reflect on our great current questions, the fear of the other, the difficulties of dialogue, the transmission, the facilities or the pitfalls of the digital in the respective and very specific contexts of Rome and Jerusalem.


Whether in the Vatican or in Jerusalem, long-standing and unprecedented experiments are taking on particular significance in the current context, whether in the field of education, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, conflict mediation, heritage preservation or the digital revolution. These experiences risk confronting the serious questions raised by the current pandemic: how can we remain close when everything encourages distance and, consequently, mistrust? How to maintain dialogue between cultures and religions? How can we educate for justice and peace in schools where religious and cultural differences are exacerbated by conflict? How can we invent the transmission of traditions, worship and liturgy in the digital age?



6:30 p.m. (Rome time) / 7:30 p.m. (Jerusalem time)

Inaugural Debate: Living together in a confused world

For some time now we have been observing the great disorder of a world caught in the whirlwind of the headwinds born of globalization: freedom and security, competition and cooperation, innovation and conservation, exclusion and integration. The global crisis in which humanity is now immersed reminds us that it is the anticipated awareness of a common destiny that will unite the emerging world community.

Faced with this observation, Mireille Delmas Marty, a renowned jurist and professor emeritus at the Collège de France, draws an unusual compass where regulatory principles (fraternity, hospitality, equal dignity, solidarity, responsibility) meet and confronts the story of the collapse with that of globalism, a community of destiny united and united in its plurality. Jérôme Clément, one of the privileged witnesses and actors in the construction of cultural policy in France, testifies to the essential role of culture in our models of society.

Moderator: Patrick Valdrini, Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University


Speakers :

- Mireille Delmas-Marty

Mireille Delmas-Marty is Professor Emeritus at the Collège de France, member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques. Author of numerous books, she is honorary doctor of 8 universities and member of several Academies in the world. Her latest book, "Une boussole des possibles" (Collège de France Editions), inspired by her closing lesson at the Collège de France, is strikingly topical in view of the crisis we are going through. Mireille Delmas-Marty is Honorary President and founding member of the Pharos Observatory of Pluralism of Cultures and Religions.

- Jérôme Clément

From his beginnings as cultural advisor to Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy, to the presidency of the Alliance Française, to the management of the CNC and the foundation of the Franco-German channel Arte, Jérôme Clément is one of the privileged witnesses and actors in the construction of cultural policy in France. He is the author of several essays and novels and radio producer at France Culture.


Video clip: "Rome, the Jerusalem of the West".


7:30 pm (Rome time) / 8:30 pm (Jerusalem time)

1st conversation: the meeting

Words to actors in the field: how intercultural encounter transcends the religious fact

The pandemic that prevents us from seeing each other physically and makes our contacts scarce is ultimately only a circumstance in a fundamental movement. It helps us to become aware that the encounter is not a matter of course and that the gaps are always widening between opinions or beliefs that are increasingly clear-cut and radical. How do Rome and Jerusalem, cities that want to be universal, conceive of the encounter between cultures, beliefs and traditions? It is in these places that the need for dialogue takes on its full meaning. The actors on the ground are at the heart of the experimentation of the encounter, especially in the educational sector where maintaining dialogue between beliefs and religions is a necessary challenge but where it is possible when religious neutrality is set as a principle. If, each in his or her own religion, pupils receive religious instruction on the spot, each according to his or her faith, the encounter is born in several ways, on the basis of a common educational project that is addressed to all.

Moderator: Marie-Armelle Beaulieu, editor-in-chief of Terre sainte magazine

Speakers :

-Daniel Sidès, history teacher at the French high school in Jerusalem;

-Raeda Al-Shouaiby, coordinator of Arabic language teaching, teacher of religion at St. Joseph of the Apparition School (Ramallah) ;

-Charles Personnaz, Director of the National Heritage Institute (Paris), author of the report " Strengthening French action in the protection of the heritage of the Middle East and support for the educational network of Christian communities in the region ";

-Benoit Bonnet, Director of the International Institute of Saint Dominic in Rome.


Video Capsules :

- "A two-voice religion class at St. Joseph's Apparition School in Ramallah";

- Ali Qleibo, a Muslim anthropologist in front of the frescoes of the Templar Church of Abu Ghosh", anthropologist, writer, artist.



8:30 p.m. (Rome time) / 9:30 p.m. (Jerusalem time)

2nd conversation: the opening

Tradition put to the test of modernity: dialogue through initiatives of intellectual openness of religions

Tradition is in a way the mysterious link between heaven and earth to which the believer adheres to share its strength and fragility in a community. It is therefore necessary to transmit it from generation to generation to keep the flame of the origins alive. This is commonly the role, among others, of rituals, celebrations, gatherings, liturgy... Can we transmit, invent always anew without taking the risk of betraying? The digital challenge, among others, in the present time is of this order. This question, which is lively, legitimate and necessary, must not frighten us, but rather give rise to a real renewal of tradition, which is tradition only if it risks the living origin of religion in the face of the challenge of new times.

Moderator: Luc Pareydt, Counsellor for Religious Affairs at the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem


-Jean-Jacques Pérennes, director of the French Ecole Biblique et Archeologique, for the publication program " The Bible in its traditions ";

-Ghaleb Bencheikh, President of the Fondation de l'islam de France, for the " Campus Islam des lumières ";

- Pauline Bebe, Rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Community of France ;

- Laurent Basanese, Director of the Centre for Interreligious Studies of the Pontifical Gregorian University.


Video capsule: "the French national domains of Jerusalem".