Ancient Civilizations Forum in Athens
On April 24 2017, the first ministerial meeting of the Ancient Civilizations Forum was held in Athens. This cultural event was held at the initiative of Nikos Kotzias, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Greece, which was supported by Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People' Republic of China. The forum aimed to establish an “active agenda” for international cooperation and promote Greece to play a role in globalisation. Senior leaders at the forum delivered their keynote speeches and shared their views on how to strengthen cooperation through culture.
Representatives from China, India, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Greece participated in the forum. The total population of the ten countries account for more than 40 percent of the world's population and they play an important role in international and regional political and economic issues. They represent Egyptian, Roman, Persian, Chinese, Mayan, Inca, Aztec, Mesopotamian, and Indian civilisations.
Culture nowadays is regarded as a soft power. If used properly, soft power will help enhance a country's image and its economic development. At the forum, Greek and Chinese foreign ministers invariably emphasised a common idea: cultural heritage shared by all human beings plays a significant role in promoting friendship, international cooperation, peace, stability and prosperity; it is universally accepted when people are committed to shaping a better today and tomorrow, while past achievements are still generating values, and this is the original purpose of setting up the forum.
An academic conference was held at the same time as the ministerial meeting, where distinguished scholars from all participating countries in the forum shared ideas about the importance of culture and how to use it to advance economic growth.