RHODES, Greece, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Dialogue and mutual ground for understanding are needed to meet major international challenges among different civilizations, participants said at the 14th annual Rhodes Forum on Friday.
Under the theme "The Chaos of Multiplicity: An Urgent Call for Dialogue," the forum, organized by the independent international think, Dialogue of Civilization Research Institute, brought together more than 400 experts, including a Chinese delegation, from over 30 countries and regions, to discuss the most pressing global issues.
"The future will be on how to live peacefully with others. How to manage diversity and turn it into progress, peace and security locally, nationally and internationally," United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) High Representative Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said during his speech at the opening ceremony.
President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman pointed out during his speech that civilization can be destroyed by struggle and not by dialogue, but dialogue should have limits.
"When discussing the various forms of civilizations, bear in mind that we may have a dialogue with vegetarians, but we cannot have a dialogue with cannibals," Zeman said, referring to terrorists.
"A discussion with vegetarians can be very fruitful. But if you discuss with cannibals the first question would be 'What shall we eat?'. We are the food of the cannibals and we are the possible victims of terrorists," he added.
Among the main topics addressed during the first day of Rhodes Forum were the future of the European Union and the challenges that Europe faces with the ongoing refugee crisis.
"The European Union faces now the perfect storm. We are facing, at the same time, an economic crisis, political questions on the future of the migration in the EU and the migration issue," Dimitris Psarrakis, Economic & Monetary Policy Advisor at the European Parliament said.
But Psarrakis also urged people to be optimistic, as Europe will be strong again. "The EU -- in the course of its history -- always found its way out of a problem and became stronger and stronger. This time we are going to be strong again, but this is not a task to accomplish alone, but with all our good friends from West and East," he added.
The overarching theme of the agenda is challenges like new barbarism, alternative economic models, reconciliation and peace between East and West, as well as new strategies for growth based on infrastructure investments.
Since its creation in 2002, the World Public Forum held annually on the Greek island of Rhode has sought to promote a new culture of dialogue.