BEIJING, Sept. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — When it comes to Chengdu, people may first think of its spicy cuisine, giant pandas, interesting dialect, or even vibrant nightlife. But this inland city in southwest China also functions as a center of international cultural exchange.
With the theme of “Civilizations in Harmony: Diversity, Equality and Inclusiveness,” the first Golden Panda International Cultural Forum opened in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, on Wednesday.
At the forum, speakers shared their views on mutual learning of civilizations and a community with a shared future for mankind, building a consensus that dialogue among civilizations is crucial while acknowledging the diversity of civilizations in the world.
Speakers invited included former senior officials of the United Nations, former political leaders of multiple countries and prominent cultural experts.
Hailing China’s efforts in protecting global environment, Erik Solheim, former UN Under-Secretary-General, said we must combat all folly on decoupling and need more global cooperation with dialogue and mutual respect among civilizations.
“I see the Belt and Road Initiative and its focus on cultural exchanges, on cooperation in education and sciences as a renewal of the Silk Road,” said Irina Bokova, former director-general of UNESCO, adding that the China-proposed Global Civilization Initiative provides a good solution to meet common challenges of humanity.
Combined with their own experiences of living and working in different cultural environments, multiple speakers also noted the importance of cultural exchanges in building partnerships and developing a prosperous future regionally and globally.
Despite the differences in geographical, historical and socio-cultural factors, people everywhere share many aspirations for their own lives, such as prosperity and peace, said Abhisit Vejjajiva, former Prime Minister of Thailand, noting that one of Asia’s proven strengths is the ability to evolve its culture while dealing with the changes both from within and outside.
Nabil Fahmy, former Foreign Minister of Egypt, said that understanding and respecting different cultures is evermore important today in an interconnected fast-paced global society and people need compatibility between cultures.
Stelios Virvidakis, president of the Steering Committee of Center of Chinese and Greek Ancient Civilizations, said that civilization should not be closed, but should have sufficient exchanges and dialogues to avoid a blind sense of superiority and extreme nationalism.
Taking cultural exchanges with museums in China as examples, Eike Schmidt, director and curator of the Uffizi Gallery, explained how museums could build bridges of civilization dialogue. He added that people should advocate the principles of cultural exchange: equality, mutual learning, dialogue, and inclusiveness among civilizations, in a world evermore threatened by polarization in every field.
Hosted by CGTN anchor Tian Wei, a summit dialogue session was held during the forum to have an in-depth exchange of ideas on the role of film and television productions as powerful mediums for cultural communication and exchange.
Six guests spoke highly of the Golden Panda Awards which aims to provide a new platform to foster cultural understanding and the exchange of ideas that transcend cultural differences. Lit up by two guests’ short performances of music and poetry, they also discussed how they integrate art, culture and technology while making films.
Opened on Tuesday, the First Golden Panda Awards features a total of 25 awards across four categories: film, TV drama, animation and documentary. Hosted by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Sichuan provincial government, the event attracted many global film and television organization representatives, directors, actors and cultural experts.
In the concluding part of the forum, guests of the Chinese and overseas TV and film industry were invited to participate in the launching ceremony of the Golden Panda Initiative as well.
The initiative calls for young artists from the global artistic community to embrace the mission of promoting a harmonious and mutually beneficial civilization in this era, collaboratively create artistic monuments that reflect shared values, act as friendly ambassadors of cultural exchange and mutual learning, and continuously unleash the youthful energy of cultural heritage and innovation.