RHODES, Greece, Sept. 26 (Xinhua)
The richest value of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" is that it is an international large scale open platform for discussions, not manipulated, which suggests practical actions that can be applied by civil society and create a brighter future.
Worldwide renowned public thinkers and practitioners from across the globe started debating on the major challenges posed to modern world during the opening plenary session of the 12th annual World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” at the Greek island of Rhodes on Friday with a call for unbiased dialogue of civilizations and interaction to tackle new threats to mankind.
The theme of this year's annual meeting at Rhodes which ends on Sunday is "Preventing World War through Global Solidarity - 100 years on."
On the 100th anniversary of the First World War, hundreds of delegates from 60 countries and regions, including representatives of some of the most troubled regions of the planet today, gathered in Rhodes to reflect on the lessons of history and foster constructive dialogue to emerge out of the contemporary crises peacefully, building a better future.
"We are living in a world of drastic increase of inequality. Global domination is on the rise. We are living in a world where we see more aggressive policies being implemented," the Forum's Founding President Vladimir Yakunin said addressing the opening plenary session.
Yakunin referred to a new policy of global domination and suppression which has replaced the Cold War pattern.
"We are united in having unbiased dialogue and interaction, seeking ways out of emerging crisis," he stressed, noting that this is the mission of the Rhodes Forum.
In an acknowledgement of its important contribution to public debate last year the forum gained a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The richest value of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" is that it is an international large scale open platform for discussions, not manipulated, which suggests practical actions that can be applied by civil society and create a brighter future, according to the organizers.
On his part, Matthias Platzeck, President of the German-Russian forum, highlighted the new confrontation between Western Europe and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.
"Conflicts are based on misunderstanding. Fear and prejudices reigned a century ago in a fatal mistake. Dialogue of cultures should be reflecting of things that unite us," he said.
In regards to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Austrian Walter Schwimmer, Co-chairman of the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations, talked of "a kind of autism governments are still suffering from today" instead of entering real dialogue.
As several delegates, he dismissed the mechanism of sanctions as useless and contradictory.
On the other hand, the new Silk Road currently under discussion represents one of the brightest rays of hope for development to the benefit of millions of people in Asia and Europe, according to organizers and delegates.
"The new Silk Road has great potential ... The dialogue launched four years ago is the greatest achievement of our collaboration with China," Yakunin told the opening plenary session, stressing that the new Silk Road will be a belt of development which will not be limited to infrastructure works.
Intellectuals, academics, religious figures and representatives of the arts, mass media, business spheres and non-governmental organizations, will continue discussions on the possibilities of harmonization of international relations and strengthening of stability in the world over the weekend.