Dialogue to push fresh approaches
Senior Chinese official calls for greater ‘harmony of civilizations’
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.