On the afternoon of May 31, 2021, the 2nd Online Meeting of the International Network of the Silk Roads Programme, UNESCO was successfully held. Gabriella Ramos, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, John Crowley, Director-General of UNESCO Research Policy & Prospects, Mehrdad Shabahang, Director of UNESCO Silk Roads Project and representatives from 17 countries including China, Spain, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia took part in this meeting and made positive and enthusiastic speeches on how to promote the interactions of the Silk Road in the post-pandemic era.
Gabriella Ramos, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, said in her message that UNESCO's Silk Roads Project, launched in 1988, continued to engage in diverse cultural interactions. In 2020, the uncertain international situation and the spread of the pandemic pose challenges for the project, but initiatives and projects in different regions managed to be carried on in a flexible manner via both online and offline approach. We thank all our partners for their efforts to promote cultural exchanges and protect cultural heritage on the Silk Roads, and look forward to closer cooperation in the future.
Dr. Li Ruhong, Chairman of the China World Peace Foundation and Chairman of the Beijing International Peace and Culture Foundation, was the first speaker to deliver a speech on the theme of “Peace+1”delighting the World in the 'Interactive Atlas of Cultural Interactions Along the Silk Roads'.
He said，it was an honor when UNESCO announced the Peace Garden Declaration in Beijing on 1 June 2017, in which experts, scholars, government officials, diplomatic envoys and entrepreneurs from five continents, from the fields of history, culture, language, folklore, anthropology and cultural heritage protection, agreed on the content, scope, structure, themes and objectives of the Cultural Interactive Exhibition Along the Silk Roads.
It covers 10 sections of science & technology, music & art, fashion & accessories, medicine & pharmacy, language & literature, traditional games & sports, food & agriculture, myths & fantasies, religion & spirituality, rituals & celebrations.
It’s rapidly gaining popularity among dignitaries, envoys, artists and people in more than 180 countries, in which we regularly interact, has also been greatly supported by the Director-General of UNESCO and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who have presented this achievement to the leaders as a gift to the world.
In cooperation with UNESCO, "The Slavery Route", "Rebuilding the Homes of War-torn Countries", Cross-Religions Collaboration, "Nanjing International Youth Day" & "Peace Garden International Women's Day" have become popular projects for people of different regimes, cultures & living environments in the international community.
In particular, the "Silk Roads in the Youth’s Lens" Global Photo Contest, through the visual arts to attract cultural interaction in the Silk Roads & Pan-Silk Roads countries, the implementation of the "International Decade for Cultural Harmony" plan, this creative and sustainable way of communication, in cooperation with UNESCO for 7 consecutive years hosted by the "Peace Garden Peace Festival" received warm praise from more than 100 governments, NGOs and people from all walks of life.
The symposiums in Beijing and Uzbekistan, as well as tours at UNESCO headquarters, in Oman and Spain and the United Nations, were also successful.
In order to further develop the functional space of the Interactive Atlas of Cultural Interactions along the Silk Roads project and engage more countries and people, it is suggested that:
1. With the support of UNESCO, we should combine the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with civilian diplomacy and regional concerns, and carry out online and offline public welfare projects in the fields of tea culture, fine food, traditional medicine, classical & folk music, sports, language, architecture & healthcare for the senior, so as to further award teams and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to cultural interaction & the responsibilities of the international community through scientific, systematic and standardized development.
2. With the theme of World Heritage protection and the dissemination of intangible cultural heritage, we will carry out international exchanges and cooperation between museum cultures and grand canal cultures, support the creative economy, and make their voices heard in forums and rational dialogues on tolerance and diversity.
My international volunteer team and I have a growing love for UNESCO and are committed to bringing to the world projects with warmth, credibility, influence and sustainability.
We are exploring how to shape the new international political and economic order with the interaction of the humanities and society as the platform, how to sort out and summarize the fitness of the peace and public welfare projects we have done with historical heritage and modern culture, and how to lead confused people out of the misunderstanding and blind spots to find a sense of peaceful and harmonious access in the complex international situation, despite the ongoing regional conflicts and uncertain outbreaks. Let today's us become the comrades of future times, with "peace+1" as the path to promote the achievements of world civilization.
In addition, at the meeting, the representative of Azerbaijan proposed exchanges in chess, the representative of China proposed the Silk Roads Film Festival, the representative of Kazakhstan proposed a project on cultural and religious exchanges, the representative of Kyrgyzstan proposed a project on digital cultural exchanges of "nights at museums", the representative of Portugal proposed exchanges between universities, the representative of Russia proposed a project on the exchange of historical buildings and operas, the representative of Uzbekistan proposed a project on silk roads tourism, and so on.
Du Yue, Director of UNESCO's Africa Inter-Departmental Cooperation & Partnership, pointed out that from ancient times to the present, the Silk Roads has been of great significance in promoting exchanges between China and the West, and we want to serve the present by learning and passing on history.
Magnus Magnusson, Director of UNESCO's Department of Social & Human Sciences, said that in the new era, new passion and innovative ways should be brought into full play to breathe new life into the cultural interactions of the Silk Roads.