Iran proposes a world day for ancient civilizations

November 29, 2019 - 18:47

TEHRAN – Iranian tourism minister on Friday proposed a world day for ancient civilizations as he was addressing the third ministerial meeting of the Ancient Civilizations Forum in Beijing, China.

“Importance and influence of ancient civilizations over the modern world is so great that I believe it should be marked each year as the world day of ancient civilizations,” CHTN quoted Ali-Asghar Mounesan as saying on Friday.

Chaired by the Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang, the forum was also attended by ministers from India, Iraq, Egypt, Armenia, Italy, Bolivia, Peru and Greece, as well as a community of international tourism and cultural heritage officials and experts.

“This forum lays a ground for exchanging our views and ideas. And today, I am going to take this opportunity to share my views on [how to make the best] use of cultural heritage for realization of cultural diplomacy. As we all acknowledge, cultural heritage, tourism, and crafts in today’s challenging world are [considered as] important tools for promoting and consolidating peace between [various] nations and communities.”

The Iranian minister explained how ancient civilizations, which abstained from wars and respected for human values, could ultimately ensure peace and security.

“The history testifies that human beings have always faced challenges of their times. [However], both the emergence and ways of dealing with each challenge has been repeated more or less in all historical periods and in all over the world.”

Mounesan added that though, sometimes, some societies have overruled each other’s rights and challenged their own and others’ peace and security, the true victory was achieved by those societies and nations who abstained from militancy and respected for human values.

“Some [of ancient societies and nations] could ensure peace and security and overcome the spirit of hegemony by the means of [practicing mutual] understanding and cultural interaction.”

Mounesan emphasized that in today world “we” are still witnessing differences of opinion and conflicts of interest.

“Devoting attention to cultural and civilizational commonalities can bring countries closer together and bridge gaps between them. So, in my opinion, the world today needs, most of all, cultural closeness, empathy, discourse, and consultation; ones that ancient societies were also benefited from in the past.”

He said that considering cultural heritage from this perspective would be a right solution because it could linking present generations - especially young people to the dignity and identity they have in common, and it can also play an important role in bringing nations together.

Ancient Civilizations Forum at a glance

The formation and evolution of ancient civilizations and their great achievements, ranging from architecture, philosophy and mathematics to medicine and astronomy, just to name a few, laid the foundation for the modern world as we experience it today.

The heirs of ancient civilizations have an obligation, indeed a mission, to preserve and develop this legacy for the benefit of humanity. This is especially important in a period of rapid changes and great uncertainties when international cooperation for global problems like climate change and growing inequalities is of paramount importance.

The aim of the conference was to discuss the importance of setting up an Ancient Civilization Forum, examine best practices of inter-cultural dialogue, describe initiatives and propose joint actions mainly in the fields of academic and scientific research, cultural diplomacy, cyberspace and the new media with an eye on growth and human-centric development.

The main areas of interest according to the Forum are: the impact of ancient civilizations on the modern era; civilization as a soft and smart power; and civilization as an agent of economic growth.


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