Ancient Civilizations Forum
The formation and evolution of ancient civilisations 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 civilisations 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 are:
I. Impact of ancient civilisations on the modern era
Culture is a major determinant of how people perceive each other and negotiate their differences. Opportunities for global contact and exchange are proliferating as never before, and because of those contacts, culture itself is changing. This presents governments and cultural organisations with a dual challenge: on the one hand they need to maintain established standards of scholarship, quality and continuity, and on the other, to enable the population to develop the vital skills of cultural literacy.
In the era of globalisation and rapid technological change which leads to a new communication paradigm, various ways must be found to bring younger generations closer to ancient civilisations and their legacies. Modern means of communication and expression must be used to study and feature aspects of the past, so that they can be properly elaborated and projected to the global society.
II. Civilisation as a soft and smart power
Dialogue between civilisations is one of the pillars of a global system in which democracy, elimination of social inequalities and poverty, tolerance, understanding of and mutual respect for the cultural differences and traditions of peoples will form the basis for a safe and peaceful humanity. This is the best way to expel any idea of conflict between civilisations, peoples or states, resulting in the elimination of stereotypes, which are the biggest obstacle to mutual understanding and respect.
In the era of digitization and networking new phenomena such as mass self-communication and many-to-many cultural exchanges are expanding very fast and are capable of profound effect. Cultural diplomacy becomes more complex and widespread, its importance is increasing and affects the more traditional forms of public diplomacy to a much greater extent than before.
III. Civilisation as an agent of economic growth
Cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, testifies to human creativity and forms the bedrock underlying the identity of peoples. Creativity, knowledge, culture, and technology can be among the most important drivers of job creation, innovation, and social inclusion. Adequately nurtured, creativity fuels culture, infuses a human-centered development and constitutes the key ingredient for growth, innovation and trade while contributing to cultural diversity and economic, social and environmental sustainability.
In recent years cultural industries and the creative sector of the economy has been recognized and promoted as a Key pillar of development strategies at national and local level. Countries in which ancient civilisations thrived posses unique advantages that can be used to develop a functioning “creative nexus” able to attract investors, build creative entrepreneurial capacities, offer better access and infrastructure to modern technologies. A positive spillover effect can also be reflected in higher levels of growth, increased opportunities for strengthening innovation capabilities and a high quality of cultural and social life in those countries.
Who we are
Greece, China, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Italy and Peru, with the addition of Armenia, formed a cultural initiative among countries, from different geographical regions, that are cradles of ancient civilizations.
These nine countries represent ancient civilizations such as the Egyptian, the Roman, the Persian, the Chinese, the Mesopotamian and Andean civilizations. Participating countries represent more than 40 percent of the world population and are at the center of international political developments in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Through shaping a broad and multifaceted positive agenda of joint actions of the nine states, the Ancient Civilizations Forum aims to transform culture into a source of soft power and a fundamental tool of a modern and multidimensional foreign policy. Another aim of the Forum is to highlight the international cultural cooperation as a factor for economic development.