by Yacoob Cassim
For the first time in global events, a new association like no other has taken centre stage, The Ancient Civilizations Forum. The forum, which is based on improving economic and cultural ties between its members, is made up of Bolivia, China, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Mexico and Peru, shall be open to future enlargement on a consensual basis.
The forum whose first Ministerial conference was co-launched by Greece and China in Athens ended on Monday with a declaration to establish an annual platform of dialogue and cultural understanding.
The goals of the Forum as summarised by China’s foreign minister Wang Yi are as follows:
Peace: As original ancient civilizations, over the past thousands of years, we have experienced many rises and falls of Dynasties and Empires, and witnessed numerous wars, poverty and turmoil on the Planet. The creation and maintenance of peace is our common responsibility. Any international or regional disputes should be resolved through peaceful means rather than resort to force so as to make sure war does not recur.
Inclusiveness: Every civilization has its own characteristics and origins. It is the differences among us that make the world colourful, facilitating the grater developmental process of human civilization. An ancient Chinese Philosopher says: “Gentlemen seek harmony but not uniformity.” Learning to appreciate differences among us, and based on this to seek and achieve harmony is the essence of our culture the inclusiveness of our nations. There is neither lowliness nor nobleness in civilizations. We reject the sense of superiority of any civilization, for all civilizations are equal. We should be inclusive and learn from one another to make progress together.
Cooperation: As original civilizations, we will have a glorious past, but today we need to create a new and bright future. We are all facing with common goals of improving people’s well-being, revitalizing the economy and achieving national rejuvenation. We should join hands to strengthen mutually, beneficial cooperation, so as to achieve common prosperity.
All of the above certainly sounds fascinating and incredible for an organization based on shared relations concerning Anthropology.
The ministers participating in the conference declared their countries attention to conduct dialogue and consultations with a view to reach coordinated positions on issues of major importance relating to the protection of cultural heritage, within the relevant international organizations, such as UNESCO in order to safeguard the historical and cultural heritage of the AC Forum members, said the declaration.
This will all sound most impressive on paper. But what would the organization bring to world affairs in terms of unfolding events? The Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant continues to ravage significant parts of Iraq itself a member of the forum. The armed group has destroyed thousands of cultural relics and other Archaeological treasures in Iraq and Syria. So in order for the organization to achieve its main goal of peace it will also have to come up with a solution to combat militancy.
Although Syria is not yet a member of the forum, due to the on-going conflict that may change with time. The regime in Damascus still counts Iran, as a member of the forum among its friends. Only time will tell how this latest incarnation will survive.