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《Paris Summit》



Speech in Opening Ceremony from Mr. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Former Prime Minister of France


Distinguished Ambassador of Chinese Ambassy to France, Distinguished Ms. Zhang, Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends,
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Taihu World Cultural Forum for your kind invitation and convening of this conference in France. Our today’s conference is very important and I think this should be a new starting point for cooperation and communciations. It is a great honour for French Foundation of Prospective and Innovation where I work as the Chairman to be the partner of holding this conference. I hope it will promote the sustainable and continuous cultural communications between the two sides.
Taihu World Cultural Forum established in 2008 is an international non-governmental organization and the most important organization in Chinese cultural industry, which has promoted cultural exchanges between China and Western countries. It has organized many cultural activities, particularly those held by it last year, which dramatically enhanced dialogues among civilizations, cultural communications and world harmony. In 2013, it achieved a very important progress --promoting international cooperation in ecological civilization--and put forward a declaration on further promoting the construction of ecological civilization, which aroused great attention among many countries. I would like to extend my appreciation to Chinese government, Deputy Chairwoman Zhang Meiying and all partners. Thank you curator Sophie Macario from Musée Guimet for your generosity of providing our today’s conference venue and for your thoughtful preparation in Musée Guimet.
It is known that this Forum has very magnificent goals and we might not be very clear about its theme during early days of its establishment. I think the speech of President Xi Jinping delivered in UNESCO last week is very enlightened for our today’s discussion and work. In his excellent speech over there, I noticed two critical points he mentioned. One is that there is no civilization superior than others, which is very important and is the common consensus between China and France. He also further illustrated the inclusiveness of ancient civilization. The other critical point I noticed is about the missions of civilization, including bringing harmony and respecting diversity. In President Xi’s speech, he emphasized the importance of both material civilization and non-material civilization. It reminds me of the Silk Road, the important channel for communications between the west and the east for thousands of years, which both represents a kind of material civilization in the long history, like exchanges of silk and other various goods and products, and more importantly, the spiritual civilization, like spiritual communications among different civilizations. Even today, we still can feel and see the traces left on the Silk Road by exchanges of culture and religious spirits between two civilizations. In addition, it is crucial for us to jointly think about keeping balance when it comes to the harmony and diversity of material and spiritual civilization. This is worthwhile to be thought about both to countries and the whole world.
The work done by Taihu World Cultural Forum in this aspect might meet the expectations of many people, in my opinion. France has done a lot in this aspect, further promoting the sharing and integration of each other’s views and ideas. Here, I want to mention the efforts of Victor Segere Foundation,under which Chinese and French intellectuals conducted good communications and had deeper understandings about mroe complicated concepts. The French Foundation of Prospective and Innovation where I work as the Chairman also has carried out some activities for the purpose of promoting mutual understandings and exchanges of all aspects and civilizations in the world to get rid of the ideology that one civilization is superior than others. I think what we have done is the extention based on the existing basis and many other foundations in civil society also played a very important role in this aspect. All these have been emphasized and stressed on by both Chinese and French heads of government when President Xi Jinping visited France, which is very inspiring. We think diversity and harmony perfectly fit our current ideology since without harmony, the world will go into confrontation and separation and without diversity in the pursuit of unification, it will not be sustainable. As Chinese people always talk about balance, I think we have to find a balance among unification, diversity and harmony and thus Chinese history lasting for thousands of years has very realistic meanings to all of us. Thank you, all experts, elites and intellectuals for gathering together here to communicate with each other well. After the conference, we will make a briefing. Here, I would like to express my thanks to you all for your active engagement and participation. I sincerely hope this is a fruitful conference and we all hope so. In addition, I think we should be humble since we are faced with a big topic. We really admire the wisdom of China and Chinese culture. I prefer to conclude my today’s speech by using a Chinese saying “Don’t forget those who dug the well when we drink water.” Thank you.



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