Throughout the ages, all the disputes in human history, major or trivial, stem from mutual disagreement and lack of communication. “The friendship between people is the foundation of state-to-state relations.” In this sense, people-to-people exchange is the fundamental approach to facilitate the communication and mutual learning among different countries, nations, ethnicities, and religions, as well as the resolution of conflicts in human societies. At the same time, only through promoting people-to-people exchange can empathy emerge and sublimate into common values.
When harmony and difference work together they create Supreme Harmony. The premise of human social harmony is not the same homogeneity, but the respect and understanding of diversity. As the world is increasingly connected, it appears to be more important for people to seek commonality instead of differences, to learn from each other and to pursue mutually beneficial goals. In this respect, people-to-people exchange is the right bridge that leads differences to commonalities, greatly contributing to the establishment of a “community of shared future for mankind”.
The aim of setting up the People-To-People Exchange Session in the Taihe Civilizations Forum is to bring together the experts from both China and the other countries. By facing differences, the gap of cultural cognition can be bridged honestly, and the way of reaching the same destination by various paths can be found through communication. Meanwhile, this session aspires to pave a way for the convergence of Chinese and foreign cultures and to open more gateways for exchanges and mutual learning among groups of people.
The People-To-People Exchange Session in the 2018 Taihe Civilizations Forum will be held on the following three topics:
1. The new paradigm of people-to-people exchange
People-to-people exchange is an important way to enhance mutual recognition and understanding between China and the world. At present, China has organized and carried out various forms of people-to-people exchange activities with the other countries，achieving fruitful results. In the future, the aim of the people-to-people exchange between China and the rest of the world should be adapting to the development and changes in international and regional situations, as well as expanding its outlook. The forum will be examining the ways and methods to better promote exchanges and mutual learning between China and other countries and regions, which is also an issue that needs in-depth study.
2. Exchanges between human civilizations and cohesion of common values
Since the development of human society, every civilization, every country and every nation has formed its unique cultural values. These values directly determine how people view the past, the present and the future. The difference in cultural values is also an important factor in conflicts around the world today. For people who express different cultural values, understanding and learning is the premise and foundation for building mutual trust and resolving conflicts. Distilling shared values through continuous exchange and reciprocal learning among countries has had a great and far-reaching positive effect on human beings in seeking common ground, while at the same time respecting differences and living in harmony.
3. Cultural exchanges along the “Belt and Road” and the establishment of “community of shared future for mankind”
People-to-people exchange is an invaluable element of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. It is necessary to promote connection and communication along the Belt and Road. Enhancing the mutual understanding and cooperative development among the Belt and Road countries and creating a “community of shared future for mankind” through people-to-people exchange is an important goal to be explored.
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