China: the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a China-proposed resolution unanimously last week, June 10 was designated as the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations. 

It is the latest endeavor by China and the international community to jointly promote inter-civilization dialogue.

Dialogue among civilizations contributes to improving awareness of universal values of humanity and enhancing understanding of the value of cultural diversity, Miguel Moratinos, UN under-secretary-general and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) high representative, said in a statement on the occasion.

As the world undergoes profound changes, the proposal addresses the urgency to enhance mutual understanding and solidarity among civilizations through dialogue, demonstrating that Chinese visions and Chinese solutions are gaining increasing support from the international community.

TIMELY PROPOSAL

With multiple crises and challenges interlocking, the world has entered a new period of instability and change, leaving humanity at a crossroads.

Against this backdrop, China made the proposal to fully leverage the important role of dialogue among civilizations in eliminating discrimination and prejudice, enhancing understanding and trust, promoting people-to-people connectivity, and strengthening unity and cooperation, said Fu Cong, China’s permanent representative to the UN.

The resolution, which centers around core principles of the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), is in line with the trend of the times and supported by the international community.

“Ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war,” former UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova told Xinhua, citing UNESCO’s Constitution.

“In our world that confronts numerous challenges to peace and sustainable development, intercultural dialogue becomes ever more important,” Bokova said.

“The adoption of the resolution marks an important inflection point where UN member states commit to a culture of embracing varying global perspectives, respect for different cultures, and dialogue as the enduring path to sustainable global peace, security and inclusive development,” said Cavince Adhere, an international relations specialist with focus on China-Africa relations.

“We need to talk,” said Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO assistant director-general for social and human sciences, underscoring the urgency of fostering intercultural understanding.

She welcomed the adoption of the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations, viewing it as “an opportunity to shine a light on the potential of dialogue to build bridges across differences and equip our societies with the means to solve all the challenges.”

UNWAVERING CHAMPION

The resolution, which calls for “equal dialogue and mutual respect” among different civilizations, echoes Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of civilization which he expounded on the world stage in March 2014.

“Civilizations have come in different colors, and such a diversity has made exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations relevant and valuable,” Xi said then at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.

“Inter-civilization exchanges and mutual learning should be given a full play as a bridge of friendship among peoples, a driving force behind human progress, and a strong bond for world peace,” said Xi.

“Ten years later, none of the words President Xi pronounced has aged today. It is more relevant because of the problems we confront nowadays,” said then-UNESCO Director-General Bokova.

Over the decade, Xi has time and again on various international occasions elucidated China’s perspective on civilization and proposed initiatives that are in line with the trend of the times, in an effort to promote inter-civilization dialogue and mutual understanding.

When addressing a dialogue between the Communist Party of China and other world political parties in March 2023, Xi put forward the Global Civilization Initiative, making a sincere appeal to the world for respect for the diversity of civilizations, the common values of humanity, the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations, as well as robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

“Diversity spurs interaction among civilizations, which in turn promotes mutual learning and their further development,” Xi told the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in May 2019.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping is a great leader who knows well about civilizations, about the essence and mission of civilizations,” said former Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who attended the conference and shared views with Xi on civilizations.

In his view, peace and solidarity, can only be upheld through joint efforts of all nations, and the strengthening of dialogue among civilizations, which is exactly what Xi proposed.

JOINT EFFORTS

From jointly hosting cultural tourism years, cooperating on archaeological research, and conducting mutual translations of classic works, to hosting major diplomatic events such as the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, China continues to implement the GCI, collaborating closely with the international community to foster dialogue and mutual learning among civilizations.

As a cultural highlight of the serial activities of the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism in 2024, the special exhibition “The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles” kicked off at the Palace Museum in Beijing, featuring over 200 treasured collections that vividly demonstrate the history of cultural exchange and mutual learning between China and France in the 17th and 18th centuries.

In the famous Karnak Temple Complex in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, the Montu Temple, which had been buried for more than 3,000 years, has breathed life after nearly six years of collaborated excavation by archaeologists from China and Egypt.

This collaboration has inspired many Egyptian and Chinese experts to strengthen related cooperation, building a new bridge for exchanges between the Chinese and Egyptian civilizations.

“China has always firmly promoted and advocated mutual learning and dialogue among civilizations,” said former Pakistani Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi, noting that China’s efforts, including the initiation of the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations, will help foster understanding between different civilizations, races, and ethnic groups.

Just as President Xi once said, “A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden.” China will continue to be a promoter and practicer of dialogue among civilizations, making the garden of world civilizations flourish.

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NSN.Asia

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