Senior UN official highlights importance of dialogue among civilizations

Dialogue among different civilizations is of great importance, a senior UN official said Saturday, calling for harmony amid world diversity and replacement of confrontation with dialogue.

“I believe that dialogue on world civilizations is of crucial importance. We must replace confrontation with dialogue,” said Wu Hongbo, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs.

“Through dialogue on an equal footing, we should seek harmony amid world diversity,” he said.

Wu made the remarks in his message, delivered by Jerry Hultin, president of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, to the New York Forum on World Civilizations held at UN headquarters.

He also noted that dialogue among different cultures has entered a new era with clearer purpose, better organization, larger scope and greater sustainability.

“The paradigm of dialogue among civilizations requires that we give up cold war mentality and power logic, and build a new culture of peace, empathy, compassion and understanding,” he added.

The New York Forum on World Civilization is organized by China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC), a non-governmental and non-profit Chinese think-tank registered in Hong Kong, which has special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Titled “Harmony based on shared values – beyond national identities and beliefs: a dialogue between Confucianism and Christianity,” the forum aims at promoting shared values from both civilizations and providing a good opportunity to enhance understanding between them.

Xu Jialu, former vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, said in his opening speech to the forum that if people analyze the origins of various beliefs by historical study, they may find out that all humankind shares the same wishes and goals.

“This is the beginning of finding a way to solve problems,” he said, adding that from this starting point, people can achieve “peace and cosmopolitism in the world.”

The forum will last two days, during which dozens of religious leaders, scholars and experts from different countries will discuss the relations and relevancy of Confucianism and Christianity in the modern age.

Xinhua