Dialogue between civilizations and cooperation is a necessity, rather than a choice, for the joint progress of mankind, Greek scholars have said.
They made the remarks after Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Civilization Initiative at the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting in Beijing on March 15.
“Countries need to explore the building of a global network for inter-civilization dialogue and cooperation, enrich the contents of exchanges and expand avenues of cooperation to promote mutual understanding and friendship among people of all countries, and jointly advance the progress of human civilizations,” Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said in a keynote address at the meeting.
For Pavlos Kontos, professor of Philosophy at the University of Patras, it was a very profound and clear statement.
“Nobody should nurse the illusion that there are some isolated places on Earth where a state or a nation could promote its own prosperity solely through its own efforts and in separation from the rest of the world,” he said during an online interview with Xinhua on Thursday.
Proposing the initiative, Xi called for respecting the diversity of civilizations, advocating the common values of humanity, valuing the inheritance and innovation of civilizations, and strengthening international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.
“Respect for the diversity of civilizations is a necessity, not a choice,” Kontos said.
The Greek scholar, who has actively promoted the exchanges between Greek and Chinese civilizations, believes that the initiative offers a great opportunity to enhance mutual understanding and sends a message to the world that there is room for the study of all civilizations.
The University of Patras is among the co-founders of the newly established Center of Ancient Greek and Chinese Civilizations inaugurated in Athens in February. Moreover, the first worldwide joint master program that introduces a comparative approach to the two civilizations, in collaboration with Southwest University in China, will be launched this fall.
Eleni Karamalengou, professor emerita of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, academic director of the BA Program in the Archaeology, History and Literature of Ancient Greece at the Faculty of Philology, also praised China for its efforts to enhance exchanges among world civilizations.
“Contact between different cultures can be a source of intellectual wealth for all the countries that are participating in it,” she said.
Karamalengou stressed the importance of dialogue which she believes would help mankind move in the direction of progress.
The School of Philosophy of Athens University, a pioneer in the academic field in Greece, has collaborated with Chinese universities and promoted dialogue between the two civilizations over the past six years.