Meeting to promote culture diversity
( 2003-12-05 00:46) (China Daily)
The cultural ministers of 26 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) member countries pledged to achieve common progress based on cultural diversity Thursday.
They made the promise in a Chairman's Statement presented at the two-day ASEM Conference on Cultures and Civilizations which closed in Beijing Thursday.
Dialogue and co-operation among cultures and civilizations is an effective means to enhance understanding and tolerance and avoid misunderstanding and conflicts among countries and regions, the statement said.
The ministers consider ASEM a useful forum for Asian and European countries to exchange ideas and experiences on how to respect and promote cultural diversity while pursuing regional integration and community-building, according to the statement.
As to the follow-up actions of the conference, the statement encouraged exchanges between young people from Asian and European countries.
Also, cultural organizations are urged to establish partnerships to facilitate the promotion of cultural diversity and mutual understanding.
The two-day event gathered more than 200 participants from 26 Asian and European countries. They discussed the opportunities and challenges that globalization has brought to diversified cultures and civilizations.
As the host of the conference, Chinese cultural minister Sun Jiazheng said that the country is ready to open wider to intensify partnerships with European countries.
He made his point on the importance of fostering diversity by quoting China's most revered sage Confucius, who said that the world needs harmony without uniformity.
To protect and promote cultural diversity is an essential principle of the European Union (EU), said Claus Ebermann, ambassador of the European Commission delegation in China.
The EU will not only continue to supplement the cultural policy of the EU members but introduce cultural content to political dialogue with third-world countries, Ebermann added.
Rais Yatim, minister from the prime minister's office of Malaysia, said that compared with political systems, cultures are relatively less understood by different countries, which in turn hinders their own development.
Danish Minister of Culture Brian Mikkelsen shared this view, saying that globalization helps to remove stumbling blocks in exchanges of personnel, goods and information, but it also challenges different values and cultures of different regions and nations.
All individuals, religions, cultures and nations should retain an attitude of openness and respect toward each other, said Mikkelsen.
Participants of the conference agreed that respect of cultural diversity will contribute to the realization of mutual understanding and eventually to the achievement of world peace.
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