Third Dialogue of “China-Europe-America Museums Cooperation Initiative” Kicks off at Nankai University


International Museum Day is celebrated on May 18 with the theme of “Museums, Sustainability, and Wellbeing”. At Nankai campus, the third dialogue of “China-Europe-America Museums Cooperation Initiative” was held, which was co-organized by the China-Europe-America Global Initiative and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies and Nankai University. Themed “Museums: Bridges of Dialogue among Civilizations”, this dialogue included three sub-forums and a number of outstanding people from China, the United States, France, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria were invited to discuss online and offline, with focus on the important roles of museums in promoting cultural and artistic exchanges, facilitating cultural interaction through science and technology, and raising the public’s understanding of the common future of mankind.

Gao Anming, Deputy Director and Editor-in-Chief of China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration, shared his thoughts on three areas from the perspective of strengthening the international communication and cultural exchanges of museums: First, cultural relics should be used as a medium to enhance the function of museums of interpreting culture; second, technology should be used to bring vitality to cultural relics at museums; and third, exchanges should be carried out to bring into the role of museums in mutual learning among civilizations. 

Chen Yulu, President of Nankai University, stated that Nankai University has a good foundation in museology, and is the earliest university in China to offer a degree program in museology. Nankai University Museum also acts as a good platform for teaching and practice. He believes that we can enhance our understanding of diverse civilizations, gain a sense of belonging in the community, and build confidence in the future through museums. The convening of this dialogue will strengthen our conviction in promoting dialogue among civilizations. Nankai University will interact with and learn from world civilizations with a more open, inclusive attitude, and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. 

Lina Mendoni, Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, said that museums are important venues for cultural inheritance, as well as centers of culture, art and educational activities and are promoting social change, development and progress. In today’s world, museums confront new needs and challenges. It is necessary for museums to change and adapt to a diverse society.

Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO, said that museums are not only cultural spaces for showcasing exhibits, but also platforms for continuous dialogue within and between states, and a sacred place for learning about the colorful cultural diversity of mankind. This is in line with the guiding principles of the Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society, adopted by UNESCO General Conference.

Deborah Lehr, Chairman and Founder of the Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Cultural Relics, said that museums are playing an increasingly important role in combating the illegal trade in cultural relics, and can help people understand the problem of illegal trade in cultural relics, and offer coping strategies. We hope to take advantage of this conference to build a multi-stakeholder global network that uses the unique capabilities and responsibilities of museums to protect our common world heritage sites.

In parallel forum 1 of this dialogue, museum curators and representatives of cultural and academic institutions from different countries discussed how museums can better act as a permanent platform for artistic and cultural exchanges. 

In parallel forum 2, representatives of museums, art foundations and academic institutions from different countries discussed how museums can use technology to hold cultural dialogue in new forms and promote cross-cultural integration.

In parallel forum 3, representatives of cultural institutions, universities and museums from different countries discussed the importance of museums in the conservation of cultural heritage, and how to raise public awareness of the common future of mankind through the conservation of art and culture.

David Gosset, Founder of the China-Europe-America Global Initiative, moderated the opening ceremony. The Global Initiative aims to foster exchanges and cooperation among China, Europe and the Americas in the field of the environment and culture. There are three dialogues under the framework of this initiative: the China-Europe-America Museums Cooperation Initiative, the China-Europe-America Philanthropy Cooperation Initiative, and the China-Europe-America Net-Zero Transition Platform. In 2021, the first dialogue of the China-Europe-America Museums Cooperation Initiative investigated the impact of technology on museums. The second dialogue held in 2022 focused on the role of museums in the conservation of cultural heritage. 

(Edited and translated by Nankai News Team.)