Officials and scholars from Iran, Egypt, Greece and Italy met here Sunday to denounce globalization at a conference on the dialogue of ancient civilizations.
Echoing the "dialogue of civilizations" that President Mohammad Khatami has made one of the centerpieces of his cultural and political platform, the seminar is aimed at promoting peace and also preserving cultural differences.
"The cooperation of these nations which represent ancient civilizations can change the world and open new roads for dialogue," Iranian parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karubi said in an opening speech.
Karubi, a close Khatami ally, called for a "universal understanding" between cultures and said that globalization should not mean victory for some cultures at the expense of others.
"Globalization must respect equality, respect the beliefs of everyone, and not play down their differences," he said.
Luciano Violante, the head of the Chamber of Deputies or Italy's lower house of parliament, said the international community "has a deep need for culture to preserve different identities."
He made reference to the "misunderstandings between European and Islamic cultures" as well as the "negative" image Islam often has in the eyes of Europe.
"Muslim countries look at the West as one entity, without making a distinction between the Europeans and the North Americans," he said.
Emanuele Severini, a philosophy professor in Venice, said: "The dialogue between peoples cannot be based on faiths or religions such as Christianity or Islam, but on an attitude that Christianity and Islam have in common, which is philosophical thinking."
The leader of the Greek delegation to the conference, Vassilios Karasmanis, spoke of the "differences and similarities between civilizations, and the creation of a worldwide ethics."
The presence of the former interim president of Egypt, Sufi Abu Taleb, was a political fact in itself given that Tehran and Cairo do not have full diplomatic relations.
He said that Egypt "acords a great importance to this dialogue," adding: "In our modern world, we speak of the clash of civilizations. But the ancient civilizations from which we descend sought out what they had in common" -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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