太湖世界文化论坛

《The Third Annual Conference》

Liu Yandong: Strengthening Cultural Exchanges and Mutual Appreciation for World Peace and Development

 

—Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Third Annual Conference of Taihu World Cultural Forum

 

Liu Yandong, Member of Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Vice Premier of the State Council

 

Distinguished President Denis Sassou-Nguesso,

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends.

Good morning!

Today, people of all communities around the world gather in Shanghai, China, the Pearl of the Orient, to attend the Third Annual Conference of Taihu World Cultural Forum. With the theme of "Strengthening Cultural Exchanges and Mutual Appreciation for World Peace and Development", the Conference is of great and far-reaching significance in terms of dialogue and cooperation among civilizations. First, on behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to express my warm congratulations on the convening of the conference. And I would like to express my sincere welcome to all the guests who have come from afar.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends:

 

Culture unites the past and connects the future. In the long history, different countries and nationalities have created colorful cultures, which have become the spiritual homeland for humanity and the source of power for economic and social development. It is the inheritance and development of culture across time and space that have made the world civilization so magnificent and wonderful.

 

In today's era, along with the multi-polarization of the world and the deepening of economic globalization, the interconnectedness and interdependence of countries have deepened to an unprecedented extent, becoming more and more a community of shared future for mankind all parties are intertwined. At the same time, the world is not yet peaceful, wuth traditional security, non-traditional security, as well as global and regional threats and challenges haunting and the task of maintaining world peace and promoting common development being still heavy. In March, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited UNESCO headquarter, during which he delivered a speech citing the inscription on the stone monument in front of the UNESCO headquarter building: "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed." He emphasized that only through the exchange of civilizations and mutual learning can the seeds of the concept of peace take root in the hearts of people, so that a forest of peace can grow on the planet we all live on. This fully reveals that in the current era, promoting cultural exchanges and mutual learning and strengthening the interaction of cultural soft power are the cornerstones and driving forces of world peace and development.

 

The Chinese government believes that strengthening cultural exchanges and mutual learning is a good remedy to eliminate prejudices and enhance understanding. There exist no two identical leaves in the world. Different countries and ethnic groups have developed their own cultural traditions and values due to their different development history and natural conditions. Without understanding these differences, misunderstandings and prejudices may easily arise. Strengthening cultural exchange and mutual learning enables healthy communication and transcends differences and prejudices in social systems and ideologies, gradually accumulating consensus and enhancing understanding and trust among peoples.

 

Strengthening cultural exchange and mutual learning is an important foundation for the development of friendly relations among countries. The ancient Chinese claimed, "if you make friends out of benefits, the friendship will easily break when benefits are gone" and "friendship made in earnest lasts long". The basis of national relations lies in human relations. Only cultural exchange and mutual learning can enable people of different countries and nationalities to appreciate the grace of diversified cultures and experience the charm of different civilizations, thus making the minds between peoples closer, the foundation of mutually beneficial cooperation more solid, and the relations between countries sounder and more lasting.

 

Strengthening cultural exchanges and mutual learning is a powerful impetus for the development and prosperity of world culture. Throughout history, any kind of civilization needs to draw nutrients from excellent civilizations. Cultural exchange and mutual learning of different countries that enahncing each other's strengths and complementing weaknesses can not only help each country to strongly promote its own cultural heritage and innovation, but also enrich the treasury of human civilization, injecting new blood in the development and prosperity of world culture.

 

Strengthening cultural exchanges and mutual learning is an urgent need to enhance the well-being of people from all countries. A rich and colorful spiritual and cultural life is becoming a common aspiration of people from all countries. Strengthening cultural exchanges and mutual learning as well as exchanging and spreading the achievements of human civilization on a larger scale enable people to share the excellent cultural products of different countries with a more open global vision in better spiritual life and a greater future with more choices.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends:

 

China has a civilization of more than 5,000 years uninterrupted, and its profound culture has provided rich nourishment for the growth and development of the nation. Traditional Chinese philosophy highlighted "harmony between heaven and man", advocating that "the Tao follows nature", which reveals the profound philosophy of following the laws of nature and living in harmony with nature; it articulated "harmony is precious" and "harmony should not come at a cost of conformity". These two reflect the concept of mutual respect and two-way learning; it stressed "inclusiveness" and "tolerance" as the pursuit of coexistence in harmony. These concepts have guided the exchange and mix of Chinese and foreign cultures for thousands of years. By understanding the quintessence of Chinese civilization, we can better appreciate the state of mind and pursuit of peaceful development of the contemporary Chinese people.

 

Today, the Chinese people are striving for the Chinese Dream of national prosperity, national rejuvenation, and people's wellbeing. The Chinese Dream not only concentrates the ideals of today's Chinese people, but also deeply reflects the glorious tradition of the China's relentless pursuit of progress since time immemorial. It will not only bring more benefits to the Chinese people but will also open a broader space for mutually benefits and win-win cooperation for all countries in the world. The realization of the Chinese Dream is a development process in which material and spiritual civilizations grow in tandem. Without the inheritance and development of civilization, and without the promotion and development of culture, it is hard to see Chinese Dream as a dream come true.

 

In the new historical period, China will pay more attention to the construction of cultural soft power, adhere to the road of socialist cultural development with Chinese characteristics, cultivate and practice socialist core values, and strive to build a socialist cultural power. First, it will insist on putting cultural construction in a more prominent strategic position, and fully implement the Five-sphere Integrated Plan, that is, to promote coordinated progress in the economic, political, cultural, social, and eco-environmental fields, thus enhancing the country's cultural soft power. Second, it will continue to deepen the reform of the cultural system, improve the cultural management system, establish and develop the modern cultural market system, build cultural industries to a more extensive, intensive, and professional level, grow a modern public cultural service system, boost the standardization of basic public cultural services that are accessible to all, and fully protect the cultural rights of the public. Third, it will actively improve the level of cultural openness; China has signed cultural cooperation agreements with 149 countries, and has signed and implemented more than 800 cultural agreements with 97 countries; it has cooperated in organizing 445 Confucius Institutes and 681 Confucius Classrooms in 122 countries and regions, and has set up 16 overseas Chinese cultural centers; it also actively promotes cultural trade by translating and publishing foreign-language books, jointly organizes Chinese and foreign "cultural years", "cultural weeks", "traditional cultural festivals", film and TV screenings, etc; through these efforts, China will continue to broaden and deepen humanities exchanges. China will listen to the voices of the world with an open mind and make our due contribution to the realization of the dreams of all countries and the world together with the people of other countries in the journey of realizing the Chinese Dream.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends:

 

We live in a global village with over 200 countries and regions and over 2,500 nationalities speaking over 6,000 languages. Because of this, human civilization is as brilliant as the bright stars. Looking to the future, we should pay more attention to and give full play to the power of culture with wisdom and courage that surpasses that of our predecessors, so that different cultures can show their strengths and reflect each other in exchange and mutual learning and make greater contributions to the progress of human civilization and the peaceful development of the world. In this regard, I would like to put forward the following initiatives.

 

First, we should insist on mutual respect and promote inclusiveness and mutual appreciation. Every culture is unique and deserves to be respected and cherished without discrimination between the superior one and the inferior one. In response to the disagreements and conflicts brought about by differences in national conditions, history, culture, and systems, we should fully respect the diversity of cultures, respect the differences of different civilizations, value systems and social systems, and learn from each other in a broad-minded, open, and tolerant manner. This way, we can seek harmony in differences and build a benign relationship in which multiple cultures grow and advance together, thus creating a world in which countries treasure their own distinct heritages, appreciate other cultures, and promote shared prosperity.

 

Second, we should adhere to the heritage of innovation for common development. Culture continues the spiritual bloodline of a country and a nation, which needs to be passed down from generation to generation under protection and in a constant innovation. With the deepening of economic globalization, the cultural heritage and innovation of any country and nation are increasingly significant to the world. We should constantly make innovation, enhance cultural self-awareness and self-confidence, and add momentum to the economic and social development of countries and the common progress of human society based on inheriting and carrying forward the excellent cultural traditions using the rich and unique cultural resources.

 

Third, we should root ourselves in the grassroots and consolidating the foundation of cooperation. Cultural exchanges have their roots in the people and hope in the youth, so we must work with perseverance in the long term. We should take a more active attitude, build a pattern of exchange with the participation of both the government and the people, ensure our work is for everyone, broaden the avenues of cultural exchange among the people, especially the youth, and further promote multiform exchanges and contacts among peoples through dialogue, language learning, personnel exchanges, and close cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, trade, and economy, etc., and expand communications between peoples in multiple forms. In this way, people will become firm supporters, active builders, and real beneficiaries of friendly relations among nations.

 

Fourth, we should insist on advancing with the times and promoting harmony in the world. It is the common aspiration of all peoples to promote the building of a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. In today world featuring highly interdependent human existence and development, we especially need a rich variety of cultural dialogues and interactions, abandon the zero-sum game mentality, promote the common development of all countries in the pursuit of self-development, and jointly address global challenges, so that peace and friendship can be passed on from generation to generation, and our wisdom and strength can be funneled to the progress of human society and to the peace, prosperity, and harmony of the world!

 

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends:

 

Culture is enriched by exchange and integration. Since its establishment in 2008, Taihu World Cultural Forum has become an open, inclusive, and diverse platform for high-end dialogue with the aim of promoting cross-cultural exchanges. We believe that this Annual Conference will be fruitful as friends from different countries enlighten each other and build consensus with wisdom. We sincerely wish the Conference a great success and wish all guests and friends a happy stay and good health in China!

 

Thank you!

 


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