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Xi calls for dialogue of civilizations

Updated: 2019-05-15 08:51:34

( China Daily Global )

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Statesman's vision

A highlight of Xi's trip to Italy emerged in the picturesque and culturally significant Villa Madama, where the president and Italian Prime Minster Giuseppe Conte witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The BRI, proposed by Xi in 2013, was inspired by one of the most renowned legacies of cross-civilizational communication in history - the Silk Road, a network of ancient trade routes linking China in the East with ancient Rome in the West and beyond.

A priority of Xi's signature initiative is to build a road connecting different civilizations where mutual respect will replace discrimination, exchanges will replace estrangement, and mutual learning will replace clashes.

The vision was reflected in Xi's speech at the UNESCO headquarters, during which he highlighted diversity, equality and inclusiveness among civilizations and the role cross-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning have played in fueling the progress of humanity.

The landmark address, published in May this year by Qiushi, one of the most influential periodicals in China, whose name means "seeking truth", is no less and even more relevant today, given the world's present challenges.

Among the global threats of security and climate change is the thinly veiled sense of superiority held by some in the West, who are in the midst of resurrecting an outdated "clash of civilizations" theory.

What fuels conflict and leads to armed conflict is the absence of real dialogue, said Helmy al-Namnam, a former Egyptian minister of culture, ahead of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations.

"China's initiative to hold a major conference on the dialogue of civilizations in Asia is a very important move to pave the way for the language of dialogue over the language of conflict," he said.

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