Asia-Europe summit of culture ministers kicks off in Bulgaria

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-01 21:52:39|Editor: Zhou Xin
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The eighth summit of culture ministers of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is held in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, March 1, 2017. The two-day summit kicked off on Thursday, focusing on the topic of "The role of culture in external relations: the road forward." (Xinhua)

SOFIA, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The eighth summit of culture ministers of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) kicked off here on Thursday, bringing together high representatives of the two continents.

Their two-day discussions are focused on the topic of "The role of culture in external relations: the road forward."

"Supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development", "Promoting culture and intercultural dialogue for peaceful inter community relations" and "Reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage" are the three workshops that will be held on Thursday.

"The choice of this year's topic is very timely. In our complex world, we need the stabilizing and inclusive power of culture perhaps more than ever," European Union (EU) Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics said at the opening ceremony.

Culture can help build economies and societies that are resilient and fair, Navracsics said.

Boil Banov, Minister of Culture of Bulgaria, said in turn that culture and cultural diplomacy have been playing an important role in enhancing understanding and closer links between European and Asian partners.

Culture should be a bridge between peoples, to help solve conflicts peacefully, and promote understanding and sharing of values, Banov said.

Yu Qun, Assistant Minister of Culture of China, said that culture fostered mutual understanding and friendship. "In recent years, there has been a strong Chinese presence in international cultural collaborations, and such cultural events as Happy Chinese New Year global celebrations, cultural years and festivals, arts festivals, seminars and intellectual dialogues that China initiates bring various peoples and communities together and pull their hearts closer," Yu said.

"We should continue to promote cultural dialogues and cooperation for broader people-to-people connections across the world, building on cooperation mechanisms at all levels, platforms and channels for collaboration at all dimensions, as well as innovative partnerships and tangible projects," Yu said.

Meanwhile, with all-around, interdisciplinary cultural interactions and dialogues at the forefront of international relations, it would be easier to seek common grounds between different mindsets and encourage harmony, so as to prevent wars and safeguard world peace, Yu said.

ASEM is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe.

Currently, it comprises 53 partners: 30 from Europe and 21 from Asia in addition to the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.

ASEM addresses political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.