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中国日报网 2014-04-01 13:21



'Diversity drives progress'

President Xi Jinping delivers a wide-ranging speech on civilization at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Thursday. [Photo/Agencies] 


中华人民共和国主席 习近平

Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People's Republic of China At UNESCO Headquarters



Your Excellency Madame Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,


Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to have an opportunity of visiting the UNESCO headquarters. Let me begin by offering Madame Bokova my heartfelt congratulations on her re-election as the Director-General of the Organization and paying my sincere tribute to UNESCO for the extraordinary contribution it has made for greater exchanges and mutual learning among human civilizations.


UNESCO was born 69 years ago when the smoke of the World War against Fascism had barely dissipated. The grisly horror of war forced mankind once again to reflect on the nature of war and peace. Throughout the centuries, people have yearned for lasting peace, but war, like a haunting ghost, has been accompanying the journey of human progress every step of the way. As we speak, many children on this planet are subjected to the horror of armed conflicts. We must do our utmost to keep war as far away as possible from mankind so that children across the world can grow up happily under the sunshine of peace.


The stone wall at the entrance to the UNESCO headquarters carries the inscription of one single message in several languages: Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.


As long as the idea of peace can strike deep roots and the sail of peace can be hoisted in the hearts and minds of people all over the world, a strong defense will be constructed to prevent and stop war. People hoped to promote inter-civilization exchanges, equality of educational opportunities and scientific literacy in order to dispel estrangement, prejudice and hatred, and spread the seeds for the idea of peace. This is precisely why UNESCO was established in the first place.


The aspiration and vision as such deserve our renewed commitment. Not only so, but we must also step up cross-border, cross-time-and-space and cross-civilization activities in education, science, technology and culture to spread the seeds of the idea of peace far and wide so that they will sprout, take root and grow in the hearts and minds of the world's people, and provide the planet we share with more and more forests of peace.


Since its inception in 1945, UNESCO has faithfully lived up to its mandate and worked untiringly to enhance trust and understanding among the world's peoples and promote exchanges and mutual learning among the various civilizations. China attaches great importance to its cooperation with UNESCO and stands ready to expand its participation in UNESCO activities. We have decided to expand the Great Wall Fellowship, a scheme that provides scholarship to developing countries, African countries included via UNESCO, from 25 to 75 people every year to demonstrate China's support and assistance for Africa. We will also continue to work within the framework of the UNESCO trust fund to help Africa.


Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Friends,


Civilizations have become richer and more colorful with exchanges and mutual learning. Such exchanges and mutual learning form an important drive for human progress and global peace and development.


To promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, we must adopt a right approach with some important principles. They, in my view, contain the following:


First, civilizations have come in different colors, and such diversity has made exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations relevant and valuable. Just as the sunlight has seven colors, our world is a place of dazzling colors. A civilization is the collective memory of a country or a nation. Throughout history, mankind have created and developed many colorful civilizations, from earlier days of primitive hunting to the period of agriculture, and from booming industrial revolution to the information society. Together, they present a magnificent genetic map of the exciting march of human civilizations.


"A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden." If there were only one kind of flower in the world, people will find it boring no matter how beautiful it is. Be it the Chinese civilization, or other civilizations in the world, they are all fruits of human progress.


I have visited the Louvre Museum in France and the Palace Museum in China, both of which house millions of pieces of art treasures. They are attractive because they are able to present the richness of diverse civilizations. Exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations must not be built on the exclusive praise or belittling of one particular civilization. As early as over 2,000 years ago, the Chinese people came to recognize that "it is only natural for things to be different". Greater exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations can further enrich the colors of various civilizations and the cultural life of people, and open up still greater alternatives in the future.


Second, civilizations are equal, and such equality has made exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations possible. All human civilizations are equal in terms of value. They all have their respective strengths and shortcomings. There is no perfect civilization in the world. Nor is there a civilization that is devoid of any merit. No one civilization can be judged superior to another.


I have visited many places in the world. The best thing I wanted to do is to learn about differing civilizations across the five continents, what make them different and unique, how their people think about the world and life and what they hold dear. I have visited Chichen Itza, a window on the ancient Maya civilization, and the Central Asian city of Samarkand, an epitome of the ancient Islamic civilization. It is my keenly-felt conviction that an attitude of equality and modesty is required if one wants to truly understand the various civilizations. Taking a condescending attitude toward a civilization can not help anyone to appreciate its essence but may risk antagonizing it. Both history and reality show that pride and prejudice are two biggest obstacles to exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations.


Third, civilizations are inclusive, and such inclusiveness has given exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations the needed drive to move forward. The ocean is vast for it refuses no rivers. All civilizations are crystallizations of mankind's hard work and wisdom. Every civilization is unique. Copying other civilizations mechanically or blindly is like cutting one's toes just to fit his shoes, which is not only impossible but also highly detrimental. All achievements of civilizations deserve our respect and must be treasured.

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