By Liu Yongqiu, Cui Jing
RHODES, Greece, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Vladimir Yakunin, the president of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" (WPFDC), told Xinhua that China's openness towards the world will enhance the soft power of the rising giant which has made massive economic achievements during the past several decades.
Russian politician-cum-businessman Yakunin, who is presiding the 10th conference of the WPFDC in Rhodes of Greece, made the remarks on Saturday in an interview with Xinhua and other Chinese journalists.
Yakunin said China's population is several times that of Russia, but the later held bigger cultural influence in Europe and some other parts of the world.
"The reason is that despite it's economic power, China did not merge into the mainstream European culture and world culture for several periods in her history," said Yakunin.
He said he is very happy that China's current leadership has found the correct way for its development, making China the 2nd largest economy in the world.
Yakunin spoke highly on the ancient "silk road" as it linked China and the world economically and culturally.
However, he said the future road for China may not be as smooth as silk because "it is natural for such a super power to face challenges in many aspects."
"When people gradually become rich materially, they need to be rich also spiritually," stressed Yakuni.
In this aspect, he said China's participation in the WPFDC is very important for this rising power to open herself to the world and face her own challenges.
Yakunin said he is very happy to see that Chinese academics mingled with more than 500 delegates from scores of countries in this 10th WPFDC to exchange their views and bring back home new knowledge from the forum.
"China's increasing participation is one of the major achievements of the WPFDC in the past 10 years," said Yakunin.
The Chinese delegation, organized by Soong Ching Ling Foundation, is composed of 18 philosophers, sociologists, economists, journalists and experts from other fields.
At this year's forum which lasts from Wednesday to Sunday, China's academics take part in the plenary sessions of Global Peace and Justice, Building Solidarity Economies, The Family in a Changing World and demographic perspectives for humanity, among others.
"China has very special civilization and very special way of thinking. The dialogue between Chinese academics and those from other civilizations are very important," said Yakunin.
He said the forum also attracts many young people, who have their own sub-forum call "Youth Time". Three days before the starting of the WPFDC, the "Youth Time" organized a youth forum which was attended by delegates from 45 countries and regions.
Yakunin said a realistic, genuine dialogue can only be made among individuals. "That's why all participants of the forum are expressing themselves as members of certain civilizations, and the results of the dialogue are the product of wisdom."
He said he is very happy to see that the concept of civilized dialogue, initiated by the WPFDC, is more popular in diplomatic conferences now days.
Yakunin said the WPFDC is planning to start civilization dialogue between schools around the world, telling school children that the world is multifaceted and those people who are different from them are not enemies.
It unites various nongovernmental organizations, representatives of public and state institutions, civil society organizations and faith-based groups, academics, members of diverse civilizations and cultural traditions, and individuals.
The main goals of the forum are to protect the spiritual and cultural values of humankind and to create a space for constructive dialogue among the major civilizations of the modern world.
The first annual session of the forum took place in September 2003 on the Greek island of Rhodes, about 430 km southeast of the capital Athens.