An international conference which will examine, document and celebrate the role of donkey (and also the mule) in the culture of the countries bordering the Mediterranean basin will be organized in October 2007 by the Free University of Hydra, in collaboration with the School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the Mayor and Municipality of Hydra.
Holding a special place in Europe as a developed economy Hydra has a proud mule and donkey culture. A major part of the personal and goods transportation is done by way of mules and donkeys. Ranging from the economics of rearing and maintaining livestock, to the shaping of the Mediterranean landscape, and taking in literature and philosophy the conference will examine every aspect of donkey and mule culture. It will also seek to address issues such as the working conditions of animals; gender issues in donkey use, use of donkeys in leisure activities and more.
The first conference held in 2004 revolved around the theme of donkeys in ancient history; the donkey in religious representation; a Charter for the Working Donkey; the tales of Nasreddin Hoja; saddle-making, ornamentation and harnesses of mules and donkeys; the languages of donkeys and donkey-drivers; women and their donkeys; donkeys and song; culinary considerations of donkeys; the donkey goes to war; and mules and donkeys as an environmentally sustainable transport option.