Three questions for Isabel Vera, President of the EURINSULA Association and founder of the Islas del Mar project.
What is EURINSULA and the Islas del Mar Project?
The Islas del Mar project aims to bring together the diversity of the islands, culture, history, archeology and traditions of the islands to transform them into models of discovery, learning and discussion, leading to a true cross-cultural exchange. It also leads to individual enrichment as discovering others allows us to get to know ourselves better. I first designed the idea and then founded the EUROINSULA association to pursue the goals of the Islas del Mar Project. The Islas del Mar project: my heart in the middle of the sea, looking for its „island home” … EURINSULA is the compass that will guide me on this adventure and promotes the Islas del Mar project. The aim of this project is to increase the opportunities and reduce the disadvantages of insularity, create cooperation networks and overcome barriers that hinder the process of economic and cultural development of islands, as well as to facilitate contact between island citizens, their mutual understanding and friendship.
Where did your interest in the European Islands come from?
The islands have become my home and school of life, thanks to which I feel like a European islander, a bridge between two worlds that, despite the distance, are deeply connected. I am Spanish. I come from the Canary Islands, I was born in Tenerife and raised in Gran Canaria. For 25 years I have been living on another island, Sardinia in Italy, where I have my family and where I do intercultural tourism. I feel halfway between my Atlantic homeland and my adopted land in the Mediterranean. My roots stretch across two seas and two different but equally fascinating cultures. This experience has given a new meaning to my life, I feel like a real „European from the islands”.
What are your plans for this project?
We have ambitious plans, I invite you to visit our website: www.islasdelmar.org.
Our agenda is to promote partnerships between European islands to foster the exchange of ideas, share good sustainable development practices and increase the sense of belonging to the EU. On May 18 and 19 this year, we are organizing the first Intercultural Forum ISLANDS OF EUROPE in Sardinia. Our idea is to encourage interaction between companies and institutions on the islands to exchange knowledge and useful information in the field of culture, trade and tourism. We organize workshops and conferences To share visions and solve problems such as: insularity, depopulation, gender inequality, unemployment, sustainable development, intercultural and accessible tourism, youth empowerment, linguistic and cultural diversity, we organize intercultural trips to European islands on request . An important element is facilitating cooperation between women living on the islands, through the exchange of experiences in various professional fields, training, raising issues related to integration or equal opportunities.
I met Isabel Vera in February this year at the JLK Travelmarket workshop, where she presented her project of the European Islands. I liked it very much because I am interested in islands as fascinating separate worlds. Years ago, I wrote guides to the Balearic Islands and Cyprus (together with Magdalena Pinkwart) and dozens of press articles about e.g. Cyprus, Crete, Malta, Majorca, Madeira and the Canary Islands. I consider her idea of cooperation between the islands of Europe valuable and interesting, especially for culture and tourism.
Photo Islas del Mar & Grzegorz Micuła read&fly