Ancient civilisations descend on Athens for cultural diplomacy

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The cradle of Western civilisation has become the centre of an international conference on ancient cultures taking place today, Monday, in Athens.

The two-day event which is organised by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and co-organised by China, will focus on the role of culture in the modern era with the opening event titled “The timeless significance and resonance of Ancient Civilizations, their influence and their relationship with modern times”.

“On Greece’s initiative, and with the People’s Republic of China as co-organiser, we organised the meeting of the ten states with important historical civilizations, which are China, India, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. At the same time, we also have requests from other countries to participate in the Forum in the future,” said Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

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“As part of this International Conference, we have also organised cultural events, including a concert by Mr. Mikroutisikos and a visit to the Acropolis Museum. We have organised a Scientific Conference, which will be attended by academics from all of the aforementioned countries, and of course the main event is the meeting of the Foreign Ministers, at which we will talk about how we can best capitalise on our capability and cooperation in the culture sector, to the benefit of peace and our peoples,” he added.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with representatives from the various delegate countries including China’s Foreign Minister who was in Athens as co-organiser of the event.

“We have the pleasure of establishing this forum of great ancient civilizations, an idea of the two foreign ministers [Greek and Chinese] as Greece and China have marked the world’s cultural heritage with their ancient civilizations,” Tsipras said, noting the forum will allow the 10 participating countries to form a meaningful cooperation that could produce initiatives for the future.

“We are at a stage of very meaningful cooperation. Greece is located at a particular corner of the globe, with particular commercial and geostrategic interest and China is a very important partner for us,” he said.

China’s Foreign Minister said the Greek PM’s visit to China last year “left a great impression and was very successful,” noting that China appreciates and supports the Ancient Civilizations Forum initiative which he believes will attract the interest of the international community.

“Greece, historically, is a very ancient and rich civilization and has contributed significantly in humanity’s progress and the forum held tomorrow will play a significant role in the international platform, on the backdrop of the 21st century,” Wang said.

He told Tsipras that the Chinese President is inviting him to Beijing to participate in the Silk Road Belt forum, which will be held next month. “We believe that your participation in this forum and the close cooperation of the two sides in preparing this event will further intensify our bilateral relations and promote more results for the Silk Road initiative,” he said.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.