What kind of world should we build, and how we should build it, are significant issues that concern the whole of humanity. Having proposed the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, President Xi Jinping has now proposed the Global Civilization Initiative, or GCI.
The latest initiative is based on the recognition that the main challenges facing all countries and peoples are global issues and must be addressed from the perspective of the world as a whole.
This initiative respects the diversity of world civilizations and promotes common development for humanity by upholding shared values. It also seeks to ensure happiness for all, emphasizing the importance of cultural heritage and innovation in advancing material and spiritual civilization in harmony with ecological civilization.
The initiative calls for respecting the diversity of world civilizations and adhering to the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness. Diversity is the fundamental characteristic of the world and the charm of human civilization. Communication and mutual learning are essential requirements for the development of civilizations.
The GCI also promotes the shared values of all humanity. Peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom are the common pursuits of all nations.
The initiative opposes imposing one’s values and models on others, instigating division and confrontation in the name of democracy, or provoking ideological confrontations and a new Cold War.
Recently, Saudi Arabia and Iran, two countries that have been at odds with each other for decades, reached a peace agreement brokered by China. This has shown the importance of dialogue and cooperation in achieving peace and stability.
The GCI emphasizes the importance of cultural heritage and innovation. It calls for not only focusing on the heritage and innovation of one’s own culture but also “fully exploring the historical and cultural values of other countries”.
In the process of developing human civilization, it is essential to draw upon and promote the inspiration, wisdom and strength of the diversity of human civilizations, explore their precious legacies, build a platform for collaborative development, and showcase the sense of shared destiny and responsibility among all peoples.
In recent years, China has cooperated with six Asian countries, including Cambodia, on 11 heritage conservation projects, and with 14 Asian countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia, on more than 20 joint archaeological projects.
Since President Xi’s pledge in 2019 to work with other nations to protect Asian cultural heritage, there has been an increase in cooperation in academic research, archaeology and heritage restoration. Additionally, 13 Asian countries have joined the Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance.
In addition, the GCI advocates strengthening international cultural exchanges and cooperation. By doing so, it encourages mutual learning among different cultures.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, a multibillion-dollar plan that provides funding for highways, bridges, railways, seaports, airports and other large-scale infrastructure projects in participating countries while also offering a platform and opportunities for cultural exchange.
In early 2022, Syria signed on to the BRI following 19 other Arab countries, and in 2021, Iraq became a top destination for Chinese investment under the initiative, receiving $10.5 billion in contracts.
Since the announcement of this initiative in 2013, over 200 large-scale infrastructure and energy projects have been completed in the region. Despite major implementation challenges, many “hard connectivity” and “soft connectivity” goals of the BRI have already been achieved.
The GCI serves as a blueprint for building a harmonious world together. It highlights the need to address global challenges collectively. Issues such as climate change, poverty and inequality require the concerted efforts of all nations. By working together and learning from each other’s experiences and expertise, we can build a more equitable and sustainable world.
In today’s interconnected world, no nation can prosper in isolation. The GCI highlights the importance of fostering understanding and collaboration among countries to ensure that everyone benefits from global progress. Through the exchange of knowledge, experience and cultural practices, we can create an environment in which all civilizations can thrive.
Furthermore, the initiative embodies the vision of a harmonious and inclusive global community. By respecting cultural diversity, upholding shared values, emphasizing cultural heritage and innovation, and strengthening international cultural exchanges and cooperation, we can work together to build a better world for all.
As we embark on this journey, it is crucial to maintain open dialogue, mutual respect and a spirit of collaboration, ensuring that the beauty of diverse civilizations continues to enrich the tapestry of human history and contribute to a brighter future for all.
The author, a former minister of tourism of Brazil, is a professor of public policy at Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.