HEFEI, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- The sixth annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum concluded Wednesday in Bengbu, east China's Anhui Province, highlighting the importance of cultural exchanges and mutual learning in promoting human development amid complex situations.
Themed "Mutual learning among civilizations: Jointly building a community of a shared future for humanity," the China-initiated forum offers a platform to promote dialogue and exchanges between different cultures.
Yan Zhaozhu, chairman of the Taihu World Cultural Forum, said he hoped that the forum would give full play to the role of culture in communication and uniting people, and would support countries worldwide in meeting challenges and safeguarding peace and development.
Some 500 delegates from more than 30 countries and regions gathered online and offline to discuss topics including cultural diversity, the Belt and Road Initiative, pandemic prevention and control, and poverty alleviation.
Participants said the complex situation caused by the pandemic, climate change and other challenges facing mankind reaffirms the vital importance of mutual learning and support among civilizations.
Speaking via video link, Irina Bokova, former director-general of UNESCO, said, "We have seen that the virus does not know geographical or political borders, political systems, or ethnic and religious divides. It is everywhere and it hits everyone. The threat is global. It needs a global response."
Countries must work together to allow all people to have equal access to pandemic prevention and control measures, including vaccination and treatment, said former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
Meanwhile, Liu Yanhua, a counselor of the State Council, said that, in terms of climate change, China and the international community have broad space for cooperation in fields of technological innovation, exchanges of experience on emission reduction and participation in global governance.
Scholars also stressed that Chinese and Western cultures are compatible despite the differences, and they should seek common ground while shelving differences.
Wang Chao, president of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, said, "The diversity of civilizations is the basic characteristic of human society, and mutual exchanges and learning are an important driving force behind the progress of human civilization."
As the forum's guest country, Azerbaijan erected a national pavilion with an area of some 480 square meters inside a traditional Chinese building, where visitors can appreciate over 30 important exhibits, ranging from musical instruments to clothes and carpets from Azerbaijan.
"The establishment of this pavilion clearly represents the importance of dialogue between civilizations," said Akram Zeynalli, the ambassador of Azerbaijan to China.