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Seminar values deeper China-Latin America cultural exchanges

Author  :  ZHAO YUAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-12-05

The first International Seminar on China-Latin America Dialogue between Civilizations was held in Changzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, from Nov. 18 to 19.

More than 100 government officials, envoys, scholars and experts from China and 10 Latin American countries recently gathered in Changzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province, to highlight the importance of deeper China-Latin America exchanges, especially in the area of culture.

The first International Seminar on China-Latin America Dialogue between Civilizations was held from Nov. 18 to 19. It was co-hosted by the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Changzhou University, the Foreign Affairs Office of Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government, and Blossom Press under the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration.

The seminar was a response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for greater exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations. 

During his trip to UNESCO in March 2014, Xi said different civilizations must learn to respect one another and live together in harmony, indicating that exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations would become a new focal point of Chinese diplomatic policies.

During a meeting of leaders of Latin American nations in Brasilia in 2014, he proposed including “mutual cultural learning” as a key component of a five-in-one China-Latin America relationship in the new era. 

Moreover, in his speech to the closing ceremony of the China-Latin America Cultural Exchange Year in November 2016, he stressed the importance of firmly grasping the historical opportunities presented by overall China-Latin America cooperation and expressed his wish that the two sides would fully draw upon each other’s cultural achievements to demonstrate that different civilizations can harmoniously coexist and make common progress.

At the seminar, Wu Baiyi, director of the ILAS, noted that Latin America is becoming one of the crucial regions for China’s comprehensive interactions with the world in an all-round manner within the “Belt and Road” framework. 

Juan Carlos Capunay Chavez, Peruvian ambassador to China, said that China and Peru are engaging in increasingly extensive cultural and educational exchanges.

For instance, there are six Confucius Institutes in the capital Lima, and a research center for Peruvian studies has also been established at Hebei Normal University in northern China.

Chavez said that advancing pragmatic China-Peru cooperation in multiple fields is of great significance to steadily implementing the joint action plan for 2016-2021.

In a speech to the seminar, José Medeiros da Silva, a professor at Zhejiang International Studies University and a professor of politics at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, quoted Confucius: “Within the four seas all men are brothers.” 

Equating cultural exchange between China and Brazil to dialogue between two great civilizations, Silva said that the two nations face common challenges and opportunities. They are highly complementary despite vast cultural differences, Silva said.

Quoting the report of the recent 19th CPC National Congress, which stated “socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era,” Silva said that China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world, and vice versa. The two supplement each other, signaling a turning point for China in the new era and a new opportunity for Brazil as well, Silva added. 

Much of China’s developmental experience can help Brazil to solve many economic, trade and social problems and get back to the “right track” in the real sense, Silva said.

During the seminar, a center for Latin American studies at Changzhou University was also founded.

Editor: Yu Hui

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