Jinan, Shandong University, May 20th, 2014
Remarks by Jean-Christophe Bas
Distinguished guests , dear friends,
It is a great honor for me to attend the third edition of the Nishan Forum on World Civilizations and to address today its opening ceremony.
I want to thank the organizers and their visionary leader Xu Jialu for their tireless effort to foster dialogue and understanding among people and cultures
As we are meeting today here in the beautiful city of Jinan in a spirit of peace and dialogue, we must however acknowledge that the reality of the world is characterized by growing tensions and the rise of radicalization and polarization among people and cultures.
The profound and rapid changes in our societies around the world due to tremendous flows of migrants, technology, economic inequality, open borders…are generating fear, anxiety and identity based conflicts. Therefore, we need to define how to live together in peace in an increasingly diverse world.
This requires the participation of all – being Governments, citizens, religious groups, corporations, medias, civil society, youth…- in the global conversation in order to agree altogether on the terms of a new global contract, on the terms of a just model of society based on Unity in Diversity.
Next year in 2015 will be the 20th anniversary of the publication of the famous book “ the Clash of Civilizations “. It is urgent to build a world coalition of activists and peace agents committed to go beyond incantation and to take real and concrete action to reach the goal of a diverse and harmonious world.
That is the only way we will make Huntington’s predictions wrong, in combatting radicalization and promoting mutual respect and pluralism, and by following Confucius’ advise : “ Moderation is the highest order of moral excellence “
As President Xi said in his inspiring speech at UNESCO last March in Paris, Civilizations have come in different colors, they are diverse, they are equal and they are inclusive. Therefore the urgent need to promote exchange and mutual learning among civilizations.
There is indeed a tremendous expectation among people, and particularly the youth, to learn and to engage with other cultures and to build a peaceful world where different beliefs will be compatible with shared values and ethics.
At the time when the world community is defining a new global Agenda for a sustainable world – what is called the post 2015 Agenda – it is indispensable to insist on the crucial role of intercultural dialogue and understanding to achieve our common goal of Peace and Development.
This is my profound wish for the 3rd edition of the Nishan Forum . I will be happy to take an active part in its deliberations and to contribute to share its conclusions within my areas of responsibility.