The first Forum of Ancient Civilizations (also known as GC-10) was organized in Athens on the initiative of Greek Foreign Minister Mr. Nikos Kotzias and the support of his Chinese counterpart Mr. Wang Yi. Ministers, government representatives and scholars from Greece, China, India, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Italy, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia attended the forum.
The official opening of the forum was held on Monday, April 24, 2017, at the Zappeion mansion, by President of the Hellenic Republic Mr Prokopis Pavlopoulos (read his welcome address HERE). Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also gave a speech and stressed our common responsibility to make use of our past for the benefit of the new generations as well as the importance of co-operation of the civilizations against the darkness of those who want to sink humanity into hatred (read his speech HERE). Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Kotzias spoke more extensively, stressing Culture’s Role as a Tool of Soft Power and Economic Development (read Kotzias’ speech HERE).
Different ways in which countries can work together to promote cultural heritage and intercultural dialogue were the main issues discussed at the 1st Ministerial press conference by Foreign Ministers of Greece Dr Nikos Kotzias, of China Mr Wang Yi, of Egypt Mr Sameh Shoukry, of Iran Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif, of Iraq Dr Ja-Jaafari, of Peru Mr Salvador del Solar, and Bolivia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Guadalupe Palomeque (watch the 1st Ministerial press conference below). India was represented by Ambassador to Greece Ms. Murugesan Manimekalai.
The first conference was titled “Culture – a smart tool of soft diplomatic power” and was coordinated by Dr Platonas Mavromoustakos, Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Athens. The second was titled “Culture, a factor of economic development” and was coordinated by Dr Nikos Leandros, Professor of Economics, specializing in the Economics of Media, at Pantion University.
Well-known Greek and foreign archaeologists, professors and museum directors from these ten countries spoke about the proposed actions and successful examples of culture management. Dr Mavromoustakos spoke of the creation of an unofficial academic network as a part of the forum, where academics, researchers and specialists will be able to acquaint themselves better with each other’s civilizations and their impact on contemporary times. He presented as an example the European Network of Research and Documentation of Performances of Ancient Greek Drama, a circle of courses with the participation of 25 countries which links cooperation in research with the use of ancient theaters. He also mentioned the great potential offered by the Massive Open Online Courses (free online courses) both in highlighting cultural heritage and in extending university and other types of cooperation.
With the completion of the two-day forum, the officials were guided to the Acropolis Museum, where a dinner was held in their honor. The next aims of the forum are to open it to new members and observers, invite representatives from UNESCO, the UN and other international organizations depending on the subject, record speeches in a book and create a global network of specialists for the promotion and protection of Ancient Civilizations.
On the occasion of the Forum of Ancient Civilizations, the Greek Post Office created a commemorative envelope and stamp where it depicted representative symbols of the 10 ancient civilizations, which were placed in such a way as to form a circle that refers to the Earth. The combination of the colors used gives an impression of the ancient Greek spiral.