A three-day conference on the inter-cultural dialogue opened on Wednesday at the ATEbank's congress center in Athens' northern suburb of Kastri, co-organised with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the Anna Lindh Foundation, under the aegis of the Hellenic Parliament and the Youth secretariat general.
The dialogue is an iniative that aims to meet the present-day challenges which, in an era of many uncertainties, call for closer cooperation among countries, with bridges of communication on common goals, aimed at a better future for the societies, parliament president Dimitris Sioufas said in opening the conference.
He explained that the participation of the Society of the Citizens, the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and more particularly the youth in the dialogue was fundamental, and consequently proposed to the two foundations that they organise an international meeting of youth representatives im the Euro-Mediterranean zone, hosted by parliament in Athens.
"We must add the young generation's voice, ideas and demands to the inter-cultural dialogue, as the role that the youth can play is very fundamental, in a dialogue that I consider to be a channel of communication founded on understanding and solidarity, which gives strength to and promotes peace and prosperity," Sioufas said.
"We need the inter-cultural dialogue because, in many countries, we fear that which is different and foreign," Hellenic Foundation for Culture president, Prof. George Babiniotis said, explaining that the efforts of the two Foundations focused on spreading the knowledge of the various cultures that the societies must acquire, which he said leads to respect of the other.
The word 'dialogue' means "give and take of ideas, thoughts and meanings", he said, adding that dialogue leads to acquaintance, which in turn leads to respect and discussion, "which means that we all, together, seek the truth".
President of the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for dialogue between cultures, Andre Azoulay, said that the participation of the Society of the Citizens in cultural and political affairs was one of the basic areas of action of the Foundation, which was founded in 1975.
Azoulay said that "I try to say that there is no clash of cultures, but rather ignorance and inability to synthesize the present-day facts", adding that the clash of ignorance must be transformed into a different rationale, with knowedge and synthesis, and not the rationale of rift, and explained that the world has need of such kinds of ambitions.
Taking part in the conference are NGOs from Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, for the purpose of discussing the role they can play in advancing the inter-cultural dialogue both in the long-term and the short-term.
Source: Athens News Agency