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Global Civilizations Initiative Promotes Civilizations' Exchange and Development

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-09-27

The core concepts of the Global Civilizations Initiative (GCI) are summarized in the "Four Advocacies". With each advocacy focuses on a particular aspect, the four advocacies are mutually reinforcing, and logically comprise a coherent whole. They elucidate the principles of intercultural exchanges and development and indicate prospects for cooperation in human society.

Respect for the diversity of civilizations is a prerequisite for inter-civilization exchanges and development. Having developed in a unique environment, each civilization is valuable and carries the wisdom and ethos of a country or a nation. This diversity is an objective reality as well as an invaluable asset that ought to be cherished by all of humanity. Cultural differences should not be seen as a threat to one's own culture. Rather, it is exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations instead of isolation that drive the progress of civilizations. Thanks to economic globalization, interactions between different civilizations and cultures have become more frequent and in-depth. President Xi explained his vision of “diverse, equal, and inclusive” civilizations in a keynote speech made during his visit to the headquarters of UNESCO in 2014. As inter-civilization exchanges developed, Xi expanded this vision to encompass “equality, mutual learning, dialogue, and inclusiveness” between civilizations in 2018. He advocates promoting dialogue among civilizations on the premise that cultural diversity is respected and protected, removing estrangement, bias, fear and conflicts through mutual learning and understanding, and building a new model of human progress characterized by inclusiveness, mutual learning, harmony, and coexistence.

Shared human values are the basis of inter-civilization exchanges and development. Human civilizations have different development trajectories, but they have the same core values, which are the spiritual bonds that connect civilizations, countries, and nations, as well as the underlying force behind the progress of humankind. While championing these common values, we also need to appreciate their connotations for other civilizations and respect the approaches that other countries and peoples adopt to realize them. With this in mind, we should seek common ground while putting aside differences, oppose uniting only with like-minded people while alienating those with different views, refrain from imposing our own values and models on others and refrain from ideological confrontation. These points embody the meaning and the fundamental requirements of our shared human values. Only by upholding openness, inclusiveness, and mutual respect can these values be truly upheld and an even closer global community of shared future be built.

The transmission and innovation of civilizations are powerful driving forces of inter-civilization exchanges and development. The civilizations that exist today have stood the test of time. They transmit the cultural tradition of countries or nations, and have become the cohesive force that binds them together. For a civilization to retain its vigor and vitality, it must advance with the times, progress while preserving its heritage, and be adept at creative transformation and innovative development; otherwise, its progress is sure to be impeded by attempts to hold fast to the established ways or follow the beaten track. Countries and nations shoulder the responsibility of sustaining and developing human civilizations. They can draw on the merits and wisdom of other civilizations through exchanges, dialogue, and mutual learning and enrich the content and diversify the form of civilizations in light of the features and requirements of modernization. In doing so, they will be able to allow traditional cultures to demonstrate their timeless and boundless charm and vitality and truly benefit the whole of humanity. The transmission and innovation of any civilization require people's creativity to be unleashed, achievements to be shared by all, and people's aspirations for coordinated material and cultural-ethical advancement to be met, harmony between humanity and nature, and well-rounded development to be satisfied.

Robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation is important for advancing inter-civilization exchanges and development. People are the greatest proponents of cultural exchanges and mutual learning. The key to sound relations between states is amity between peoples, and this amity comes from empathy and understanding. People-to-people and cultural exchanges have always served as bridges connecting countries and nations for better mutual understanding and stronger bonds of friendship. However, some groups, acting purely from self-interest, attempt to provoke conflicts between civilizations and stoke bloc confrontations, seriously eroding the foundation of understanding and trust among civilizations and undermining international people-to-people interactions and cooperation. In light of this, we need to rekindle the vast power of people-to-people interactions and cooperation by facilitating movements of people and strengthening bilateral and multilateral people-to-people cooperation, in order to enrich the content of exchanges, expand avenues of cooperation, and explore the building of a global network for inter-civilization dialogue and cooperation. We need to enhance mutual trust among countries and nations and promote mutual understanding and friendship among various peoples, thereby building a more culturally advanced, prosperous, and secure world.