Opening of the 12th Annual Session of the Rhodes Forum

The 12th Session of the Rhodes Forum was opened in Melina Mercouri Theatre in the old city of Rhodes on September 25, 2014.

The official motto of the 12 Session is “Preventing World War Through Global Solidarity: 100 Years on” and unequivocally points at the numerous conflicts raging in the world today and threatening peace in a way which evoke reminiscence of the First World War.

In his welcoming speech His Eminence Metropolitan Cyril of Rhodes appealed the Forum’s participants to pay special attention to the plight of Christians in many regions of the world who are facing the threat of extinction. Metropolitan Cyril also conveyed greetings of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I to the Forum.

Mayor of Rhodes Hatzidiakos Fotios reminded that the Rhodes Island has always been at the crossroads of civilizations where representatives of different cultures tried to solve problems in their relations peacefully. And the Rhodes Forum preserves and cultivates this tradition.

In his opening address Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, emphasized key points of the 12th Rhodes Forum Agenda in the following passage:

“War distorts the human nature, and our goal is to preserve the man's natural dignity, to protect the inalienable human right to life and a peaceful future. Moreover, it does not so much refer to our common history as it shapes the destiny of the future generations.”

He also pinpointed the fact that this year’s Rhodes Forum proceedings go parallel to the sessions of the Youth Forum and the concluding sessions of both Fora are combined:

“It is very important that this year the Rhodes Forum is held at the same time as the Youth Forum. Thus, young people will have a chance to listen to the older generation, and we will try to save them from making the mistakes, which would be very hard to correct in the future.”

Vladimir Yakunin concluded his address with the quote of the World Public Forum’s Co-Founder Jagdish Kapur that at this point sounds like a warning and at the same time like an appeal to all of us to start acting:

“The twenty-first century world inherited a civilization built on blood, tears, and hunger. At its portal stood two gate-keepers — Destiny and Death. Destiny for those who controlled the levers of power and wealth and domination and death for others… We must recognize that the world is not just a globalized loot-haven, but a family of nations in a true sense, where all members of the family have a right to pray, work, and establish life styles of their choice. A state or a group of states in the name of freedom, democracy, and human right or any other contrived or media projections have no right to impose their neo-imperial designs, will, and shattered moral and ethical consumerist frame over others. They have already done enough damage to the human system. It is time to stop.”