On January 19, the Mencius Foundation held the Oriental Civilization Forum, along with the launch of the official ceremony of the “Oriental Civilization” series in Beijing. More than 150 participants from different backgrounds, including domestic and foreign politicians, artists, economists, media representatives. Many participants were present in person or via online platforms.
Led by Meng Liang, the 79th generation descendant of Mencius, the Mencius Foundation, a privately funded foundation, was established to better promote the development of Mencius’ Confucianism and demonstrate outstanding traditional Chinese culture to the world. In addition, the foundation also aims to promote cultural exchanges between East and West and promote the development of modern world civilization.
The Mencius Foundation hosted the forum, co-organized by the Wutong Alumni Association and organized by Universal Rituals Limited. Affiliated sponsors also included the Chengdu Shadow Art Museum, World Union Philanthropy Foundation, International New Energy Cooperation Organization and G-Global International Secretariat, all of whom contributed to the success of this event.
A diverse group of international representatives and industry leaders came together to explore under the motto “A Community of Shared Future and Prosperity for Humanity”.
Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of Finland and former Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, emphasized that finding meaning and satisfaction in life depends on being grounded, constantly learning and empathizing with others.
Supachai Panipati, adviser to the Mencius Foundation, former secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, director-general of the World Trade Organization and former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, quoted Mencius as saying: “If people have a steady income of subsistence, they will keep a calm mind .” It is worth noting that Mencius’ remark of ‘permanence’ points to a deeper meaning of true happiness, giving us inner serenity and happiness. Sustainable development can create widespread prosperity, but it must be accompanied by a rethinking of people and more compassion for their peers. Achieving public safety, individual liberty, and shared prosperity requires valuing life rather than blindly pursuing financial wealth. Jaylen Vandewei, Global Chairman of the Philips Group, focused on the balance between spiritual health and material wealth.
Mishal Hamed Kanoo, Chairman of Kanoo Group, the Middle East’s most diversified family business, stressed the importance of the world understanding what the East means and represents to people. The essence of transaction, creation, and sharing is a fundamental aspect of Oriental cultures, whether the name “Orient” is a geographic phrase or a spiritual term.
The forum hosted a range of performances, rituals, music and art. Through the Jingya tea ceremony, traditional folk music and shadow puppet art, the forum participants were able to see the subtle, elegant, witty and flexible charm of oriental culture.
The shadow art performance attracted the attention of the entire audience by using Chinese shadow puppet art to show Spanish folk music, showing a very innovative way of integrating and recreating Western and Easter culture. Graham Brown-Martin, attended virtually. He used an online game that invited all guests to assemble a little duck to demonstrate the possibility of integrating virtual technologies with reality education and storytelling. The whole activity embellished the importance of intercultural partnership.
Success in conducting this forum has provided the participants with the knowledge of the wisdom, achievements and potential of Oriental culture under the current and modern trends of development. All these activities served as a mechanism to bring people from all walks of life and backgrounds together under the premise of understanding and approaching Oriental culture and civilization, laying a foundation for further cultural promotion, communication and cooperation in the future.
More forums and activities are pending, which will target 72 cities in China and around the world, including 300 online and offline events. Under the same theme, it offers the opportunity for more people to join to witness, understand and be fascinated by the oriental culture.