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Ambassador Zou Xiaoli Attends the Opening Ceremony of the International Symposium-The Need of A Constructive Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures and the Olympic Idea
2015-09-04 02:25

On September 3, the International Symposium-The Need of A Constructive Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures and the Olympic Idea was held in the International Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia. Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli, Mr. Apostolos Katsifaras, Governor of the Region of Western Greece, Mr. Thimios Kotzas, Mayor of Ancient Olympia, Mr. Thodoros Panggalos Former Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, Mr Andreas Zaimis, Former Minister, Mr. Spyros Mercouris, President of HORIZONS-Human & Cultural Activities, Mr. Dionysis Gangas, Director of the International Olympic Academy, and Mr. Christodoulos K. Yiallourides President of Hellenic Cultural Foundation, as well as over 70 experts and scholars from China, Greece, the US, the UK, and France attended the opening ceremony of the symposium.

In his speech, Ambassador Zou said over 2800 year ago, the ancient Olympic movement was born in the sacred city of Olympia. The Olympic spirit of surpassing oneself, pursuing peace, as well as fairness and justice has gone far beyond sports and become part and parcel of human civilization, which is a priceless spiritual and cultural heritage that Greece contributes to the world. As the ancient Olympic movement took root in Greece, a number of great thinkers such as Lao-tzu and Confucius also emerged in ancient China. Shining upon each other, ancient Chinese and Greek civilizations jointly gave birth to the ancient Silk Road and made important contribution to the exchange of ideas and arts between the East and the West as well as trade and scientific progress.

Ambassador Zou pointed out that over the past 43 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, the two governments and peoples have always respected each other, treated each other as equals, and helped each other in times of difficulties, contributing to the dialogue and mutual learning of different civilizations. Cultural exchanges have always been an important part of bilateral relations. In recent years in particular, China-Greece cultural exchanges have reached new levels in terms of both width and depth. The two sides have held the Forum on Maritime Cooperation, the Seminar on Tourism Cooperation and the Cultural Industry Cooperation Seminar. Media groups, orchestras, and a sailing team from China have arrived in Greece either along the Silk Road on the land or the Maritime Silk Road and conducted interesting events. Preparations for the Chinese Cultural Center in Athens are underway. Relevant departments of our two countries are discussing underwater archeological cooperation to restore splendor to the ancient Maritime Silk Road. It is fair to say that China-Greece relations are vivid demonstration of the dialogue and exchanges of different civilizations in the new era, which is a continuance of the Olympic spirit and plays a leading role in China-EU relations.

Ambassador Zou stressed that China's contribution to the international Olympic movement should not only be reflected in the successful holding of the 2008 Olympic Games and the holding of the 2022 Winter Olympics, but also, and more importantly, in playing a more active role in promoting the Olympic culture and education, and advocating the Olympic spirit. He expressed the belief that China and Greece, two nations with profound history and splendid cultures, would carry forward the great Olympic spirit and the spirit of the Silk Road and make new contribution to peace, friendship, and progress of mankind together with peoples of other countries.

Ambassador Zou's speech won a warm round of applause from the audience, who were deeply expressed. Many speakers believed that the world today faces both unprecedented development opportunities and challenges such as war, conflict and poverty, and that civilizations have to engage in dialogues to eliminate estrangement and increase mutual understanding, to which ancient civilizations like China and Greece can play a more important role.

A photo exhibition themed on the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year and China-Greece Cultural Exchanges was held on the margins of the symposium, which was warmly received by the participants.

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