The Mahmoud Darwish Chair was founded in 2016 by the Federation Wallonia-Brussels on the initiative of Minister-President Rudy Demotte. It was originally created through a consortium with ULB, UCL and BOZAR. Since 2018, the latter is the sole implementer of the project.
With this chair, the Federation Wallonia-Brussels aims to strengthen its cooperation with Palestine and underline the importance of universal values. Its objective is to highlight the work and ideas of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, one of the most important contemporary writers. His poetry, with recurring themes such as exile, memory and love, is a reflection on human vulnerability.
The chair aims to show contemporary artistic productions from the Middle East and the Maghreb and pay tribute to the work of directors, playwrights, choreographers and writers from the region. With the focus on Palestine as a metaphor for exile, it zooms in on displacement. This is essential in the current context of large-scale displacement of population groups, geographical shifts and 'lost geography'.