Shandong Culture

Nishan Forum: Dialog on ethics at the birthplace of Confucius

By Zhao Ruixue and wang qian (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-27

Nishan Forum: Dialog on ethics at the birthplace of Confucius

Scholars and intellectuals from around the world participated in the third Nishan Forum on World Civilizations in Jinan, Shandong province last week. Photo by Wang Qian and Ju Chuanjiang / China Daily

Twenty scholars signed a pledge to foster awareness of human welfare at the third Nishan Forum on World Civilizations that closed on Friday in Jinan, Shandong province.

The gathering is named after Nishan Mountain where Confucius is believed to have been born.

Along with scholars, the pledge was initiated by Xu Jialu, chairman of the forum and vice-chairman of the standing committee of the ninth and 10th National People's Congress, and Hans d'Orville, assistant director-general for strategic planning at UNESCO.

The pledge states that "the goal is to work for common human ethics and morality".

"Ethics 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," it continues.

The four-day forum that attracted more than 12,000 participants featured 10 dialogs, two speeches, seven academic sessions and two concerts.

"The Nishan Forum shows China is willing to communicate with the other countries in more than just the economic sector," Zhao Qizheng, former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and former minister of the State Council Information Office, said in a closing speech.

In his speech, d'Orville said "the Nishan Forum has gradually gained importance and influence as an international platform for cultural dialog and intellectual exchange".

"From diversity and harmony - two key words of its previous editions - the forum is now putting an emphasis on common ethics, a theme that is gaining importance in national and international debates as the globalization process creates new challenges for decision-makers and citizens alike."

The UNESCO official said it is significant to meet in the cradle of Confucianism - a turn to ancient wisdom for answers to the problems of modern society.

Fred Dallmayr, chairman of the World Public Forum, said tragedies like that at a street market in Urumqi last Thursday happen all over the world almost every day, lending more weight to the issues discussed at the Nishan Forum.

A round-table dialog on gender equality was also part of this year's forum.

"It is of great significance to add the dialog on gender equality," said Zhang Youyun, director of the Bureau for Gender Equality, International Labor Organization.

"Issues of gender equality matter a great deal in building a healthy and civilized society," she said.

Concerts by symphony orchestras included Ode to Confucius and Symphony No 5 in D Minor.

As well, ceremonies honored the Nishan Academy, an organization founded in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) dedicated to Confucius and his thoughts.

The biennial forum is scheduled to be next held in Jining city in 2016.

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