Your Excellency, the ancient civilizations forum is an important initiative that comes at a time when instability dominates the world stage. Do you think that this initiative will contribute to the promotion of peace and cooperation?
We certainly hope so. We think at in these moments, a forum like this will strike a balance because if we put culture and civilization at the center of the debate, or at least as part of the conversation, we can strike that balance in countries with economic growth or economic competition. So looking back not only to the knowledge, not only to the ancient techniques but to the wisdom represented in different civilizations we think this forum, if it grows strong enough, could strike that balance which is very important right now.
Many times history is a prison and not a school as it should. Can countries with a longstanding cultural history become a school and help us avoid mistakes in the future?
Well, I definitely agree with that. History might not repeat itself but it certainly instructs us. So, human problems are really not new. When you come to Athens for example and you can visit the Acropolis, you read the great Greek philosophers, you quickly get the idea that there is nothing new under the sun. So, we are driven by concept such as innovation and growth as if they were just new. And the world is not new. Contemporary questions have been answered before. I began my presentation today remembering that in recent weeks Peru, for example, has faced very tough weather, a lot of rain and flooding. And curiously a lot of Peruvians went to look for refuge in archaeological sites. So, it’s a way of putting in not only a concrete example but also a very powerful metaphor that a lot of answers may be in the wisdom of ancient civilizations.
Ten countries and four continents meet in Athens. What is your vision for this initiative?
I think it is a vision of dialogue, it’s a vision of tolerance, it’s a vision of embracing diversity which is pretty much needed in the contemporary world, especially in these times which as a response to globalization there exists the justifying of an impulse to reject the ones that are different. So I think that ancient civilizations together in one table is a very powerful message to say we respect one another, we can learn a lot from one another. So it is a much needed message at this time./IBNA