Di­a­logue to push fresh ap­proaches

Se­nior Chi­nese of­fi­cial calls for greater ‘har­mony of civ­i­liza­tions’

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA in Athens

At a China-Europe civ­i­liza­tion di­a­logue in the Greek cap­i­tal of Athens on Mon­day, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity said East and West should work closer to­gether to face com­mon chal­lenges and make the world a bet­ter place for all peo­ple.

The fo­rum, China-Europe: Cul­tural di­a­logues in Greece, the first of its kind, was hosted at the Na­tional Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum of Athens.

Held in the cra­dle of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion, the event, co-spon­sored by the Chi­nese and Greek cul­ture min­istries, as well as the Chi­nese em­bassy in Greece, sought to lay the foun­da­tions of a broader and deeper cul­tural un­der­stand­ing be­tween China and Europe.

“Greece and Europe need to learn more about China, and the lat­ter needs to learn more about Greece and Europe,” said Maria An­dreadaki Vlazaki, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Greek Min­istry of Cul­ture and Sports, in her open­ing speech.

Both the Chi­nese and Greek sides, along with Euro­pean ex­perts who ad­dressed the event, un­der­scored the sig­nif­i­cance of en­hanc­ing cul­tural ties be­tween East and West to help ad­vance col­lab­o­ra­tion in all other fields.

“I be­lieve this di­a­logue can help fur­ther pro­mote the China-EU part­ner­ship,” Liu Yun­shan, a mem­ber of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Po­lit­i­cal Bureau of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee said, ad­dress­ing the event as key­note speaker.

“We need to re­place the clash of civ­i­liza­tions with the har­mony of civ­i­liza­tions,” he said, out­lin­ing China’s plan, which in­cludes the strength­en­ing of cul­tural ex­changes.

In his speech, Greek Cul­ture Min­is­ter Aris­tides Bal­tas said debt-rid­den Greece is work­ing hard to re­claim its place in the world, and the fo­rum is highly ap­pre­ci­ated as a vote of con­fi­dence in his coun­try’s po­ten­tial by the Chi­nese govern­ment and peo­ple.

“In this course we want to cul­ti­vate all the old friend­ships and co­op­er­a­tion and at the same time to launch new friend­ships ... It is for­tu­nate that our Chi­nese friends chose Greece as the first coun­try to launch their di­a­logue with Europe,” he said.

Cul­tural di­a­logue helps to build bridges to ease fric­tions in the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic fields and to col­lab­o­rate to re­solve com­mon prob­lems, ac­cord­ing to many speak­ers.

“We need to ex­pand our co­op­er­a­tion to tackle com­mon chal­lenges. This is why we need cross-cul­tural di­a­logue. We need to learn from each other,” said Huang Ping, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Euro­pean Stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences.

Speak­ing to Xin­hua, Kon­stanti­nos Tsoukalas, pres­i­dent of the Hel­lenic Cul­tural Foun­da­tion, said: “The prob­lems the en­tire world faces to­day are not only eco­nomic. They are first of all, I would say, prob­lems of val­ues and there­fore cul­tural.

“In this sense I be­lieve there is no bet­ter start to pro­mote di­a­logue re­gard­ing the fu­ture of our world than the di­a­logue be­tween the two great civ­i­liza­tions,” he said.

Mon­day also marked the 150th an­niver­sary of the mu­seum’s open­ing. Fol­low­ing a tour to the mu­seum, ac­com­pa­nied by Bal­tas and Nikos Vout­sis, speaker of the Greek par­lia­ment, Liu vis­ited the New Acropolis Mu­seum.

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