On Fostering the Duty Consciousness
For the Human Welfare
Through Civilization Dialogues
Today is the twenty-first day of the fifth month of the two thousand fourteenth year, which is also the twelfth World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This is the Day established and declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2001, representing a milestone for the dialogue among world civilizations. Meeting in Shandong, the hometown of Confucius, and deeply concerned of the importance of fostering the duty consciousness for human welfare, we have reached the following agreement:
We praise the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2 November, 2001), which emphatically declares a commitment “to the full implementation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other universally recognized legal instruments, such as the two International Covenants of 1966 relating respectively to civil and political rights and to economic, social and cultural rights”. It also affirms “that respect for the diversity of cultures, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation, in a climate of mutual trust and understanding are among the best guarantees of international peace and security.” In the last decade, UNESCO has been tirelessly promoting the dialogue among civilizations on a global, regional and national basis, which has greatly contributed to fostering mutual understanding among peoples from different cultures and nations.
We are agreed that this valuable endeavor must continue. However, we must adjust our efforts so that we will reach our goals efficiently. On 7 October 2010, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, delivered a speech in Milan (Italy), in which she called for a new humanism: “Changes in the world call for the development of a new humanism that is not only theoretical but practical, that is not only focused on the search for values – which it must also be – but oriented towards the implementation of concrete programmes that have tangible results.” Throughout her speech, the following key terms stand out: unity; cooperation of humanity; building bridges between North, South, East and West; co-existence and equality; support for the development of the poorest countries. All these terms call for a new planetary consciousness and commitment.
We believe that, in order to maintain the respect for human rights as well as for the diversity of cultures, we must foster a consciousness for the common welfare of human beings as a whole, rather than narrowly insisting on our own individual benefits and material as well as nationalist interests. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, stated on the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 2011: “A world of peace and solidarity can only be accomplished by acknowledging and celebrating our diversity.” To admit cultural diversity is to appreciate others’ well-being. When we are able to appreciate others’ benefits and interests, we will then be able to design and conduct common endeavors and projects in a cooperative spirit, which must be deeply rooted in the consciousness of our responsibilities and duties.
We recognize that our sense of moral responsibilities can be fostered through our own cultures; and can be nurtured through communication and dialogue among people hailing from different cultures. Accordingly, we undertake to strengthen cooperation among different organizations and institutions throughout the world, and to design projects supporting the respect for each culture. We are also committed to promote communications among ordinary people of different civilizations, based on a common consciousness of responsibilities and duties and morale. We shall call for and endeavor to organize various activities involving ordinary people of different civilizations with a view to celebrating their cultures and ideas. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: mutual appreciation of others’ languages, arts, religions and cultures; and communication to share joys in life, aesthetical feelings and visions.
Our goal is to work for a common human ethic and morality. Ethic and morality are concerned with the respect for other human beings’ rights, with the responsibility for the common welfare of local communities, and with the consciousness of responsibilities and duties for the common welfare of human beings. Since time memorial, people in different cultures have established their own norms, which determine and guide their lives. That is why the world is diverse in cultures. We are ready to organize and participate in all types of activities and to actualize cultural exchanges so that people in different cultures may be able to understand the commonality and differences among them. Gradually, such common understanding may nurture a common ethic and morality among all cultures, with which we may then strive to avoid conflicts and wars in order to reach ultimately a global human society full of mutual understanding, harmonious co-existence, solidarity, reciprocity, and cooperation among all members of the global human family.
We are convinced that this great cause will substantially benefit human beings in the long term. We are also aware of inherent difficulties and obstacles. However, we are confident that we will be able to realize our goal. Yet, we must do it in the spirit of a Chinese saying: “A long journey begins with the first step”. We hope that our commitment will first become the momentum within us, and then influence and drive the organizations we serve. We call on all people and the organizations with which they are associated to preserve humanity and the future of our earth through a new consciousness of our responsibilities and duties and through cooperation.
We pledge that we will steadfastly work for its realization!