Forum spotlights civilizational exchange as catalyst for global progress

By Wang Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 16, 2023
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Amidst the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum, a parallel subforum themed "Civilizations: Exchanges and Mutual Learning for Common Progress" was held on Friday in Beijing.

Over 200 cultural experts and luminaries from around the world attended, delving into topics of intercultural exchange, mutual learning, and a human community with a shared future. They also explored international collaboration prospects in areas such as publishing and the film and television sector. The event's goal was to promote Chinese culture on a global platform and encourage the mutual advancement of human civilizations.

Du Zhanyuan, president of China International Communications Group, speaks at a parallel subforum of the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum, themed "Civilizations: Exchanges and Mutual Learning for Common Progress," in Beijing on Sept. 15, 2023. [Photo by Liu Rong/CICG]

"Different civilizations belong to the collective tapestry of human civilization. Equality and inclusivity are intrinsic requisites for the harmonious coexistence of these diverse civilizations," Du Zhanyuan, president of China International Communications Group, said in his keynote speech. 

He emphasized that every civilization has its distinct strengths and that mutual learning and exchange are robust avenues toward modernization.

"Civilizational mutual learning and exchange have led to the enrichment of resources, technological advancements, cultural prosperity, and shared values, contributing significantly to peaceful coexistence while boosting win-win cooperation among different civilizations.

"In the contemporary world, all civilizations face the common challenges of modernization, making it imperative to intensify mutual learning and exchange," he added.

Du urged cultural entities and intellectuals globally to champion cross-cultural understanding, highlight inclusivity, leverage technology, enhance translation initiatives, and tap into think tanks to explore common values.

Xu Bu, vice president of the China National Association for International Studies, also emphasized the significance of mutual learning, spotlighting China's Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) as a catalyst for promoting cross-cultural interactions and mutual understanding.

Xu, also a member of the High-Level Advisory Board of the U.N. Secretary-General, stated that the GCI promotes equality, mutual learning, dialogues, and inclusivity among civilizations.

"It advocates for universal human values and encourages open exchanges and dialogues among diverse cultures. It advocates for unity over division, cooperation over confrontation, and inclusivity over exclusivity, providing a Chinese solution to addressing the common challenges facing humanity," he added. 

The history of humanity has always been marked by exchanges and exploration, driven by a quest for wisdom and knowledge that has propelled the progress and advancement of our human race, observed Hussam Al Husseini, the ambassador of Jordan to China.

"Each civilization alone would not have made the human race to where we are now. It is the exchanges and interactions between all civilizations that accumulated this period of development and advancement that our community enjoys today," he said.

Using Chinese and Arabic civilizations as examples, the ambassador emphasized that the histories of both civilizations unequivocally demonstrate that their historical interactions were founded on mutual respect, engagement, and shared human experiences solidifying the bonds of our humanity.

"Today, more than ever, we need to be united by our common human and moral values that we draw from our common past. And it's our responsibility to remind ourselves and future generations that these are the roots of our human civilizations," he added.

The book exhibition booth, designed to look like the Temple of Heaven, showcases a variety of multilingual books, including works by leaders, classic cultural literature, and books related to Beijing, on Sept. 15 at the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum. [Photo courtesy of the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum]

According to a recent survey conducted by the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies (ACCWS), overseas respondents have significantly increased their approval of "civilizational exchange and mutual learning" from 2020 to 2023, with initial rates above 50% now surpassing 70%, said Yu Yunquan, ACCWS president. He added that the approval rate for the Global Civilization Initiative introduced this year exceeded 94%.

Yu further mentioned that almost 60% of overseas respondents believe civilizational exchange and mutual learning are crucial in building a world marked by peace, prosperity, and open communication. Exchanges are perceived as a significant driver behind human social progress and furthering global peace and development.

During the forum, ACCWS unveiled two new additions for the multilingual "Keywords to Understand China" series: "Cultural Exchanges" and "Traditional Culture." Yu pointed out that these books, available in 15 languages and published by the Blossom Press, present Chinese ideas, interpretations, and solutions in a manner that resonates with foreign audiences.

Two new titles in the "Keywords to Understand China" series, "Cultural Exchanges" and "Traditional Culture," are released on Sept. 15 at the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum. [Photo by Liu Rong/CICG]

The multilingual book series, "Keywords to Understand China," is displayed on Sept. 15 at the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum. [Photo by Wang Yiming/]

The subforum was a collaborative effort by several organizations, including the State Council Information Office, the National Copyright Administration, China International Communications Group, the Information Office of Beijing Municipality, the Beijing Municipal Culture and Tourism Bureau, and the Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau.

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