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The 6th Taihe Forum kicks off at the Palace Museum

The 6th Taihe Forum kicked off Oct. 16 at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Aptly themed “International Exchange, Cooperation and Sharing in Cultural Heritage Conservation,” the forum was organized by the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City Cultural Heritage Conservation Foundation, and the Chinese Society of the Forbidden City.

Hu Heping, Chinese minister of culture and tourism, attended the opening ceremony and delivered a speech. Distinguished guests also included Lina Mendoni, minister of culture in Greece; Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum; Evgenios Kalpyris, Greek ambassador to China; Kuziev Tursunali, first deputy director of the Cultural Heritage Agency of Uzbekistan; along with significant representatives from International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, International Council of Museums, International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC), CEN TC 346 Cultural Heritage, and over 200 scholars from cultural institutions, research institutes, standardization bodies, and universities from countries including China, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Portugal. Zhang Huawei, deputy secretary general of China Youth Development Foundation, and Kou Qin, general manager of Guardian Art Center, addressed the ceremony. Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Cultural Heritage Administration, as well as leaders from the organizers, were also present. Lou Wei, executive deputy director of the Palace Museum, presided over the ceremony.

The opening ceremony of the 6th Taihe Forum is held at the Palace Museum in Beijing, Oct. 16, 2023.

At the opening ceremony, Hu Heping spoke of the significance of cultural relics as societal and cultural carriers that promote mutual learning among civilizations and support the building a global community of shared future. Protecting cultural relics is akin to caring for a nation’s cultural roots; Accordingly, the Chinese government prioritizes protecting and inheriting cultural relics and heritage. With a strong emphasis on protection, and the prioritization of heritage preservation, China is advancing the high-quality development of cultural relics conservation.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Cultural Heritage Administration stand ready to work with all parties on the Global Civilization Initiative and are committed to strengthening the protection, utilization, archaeological exploration, research, exhibition, and promotion of cultural relics. Furthermore, to contribute further to protecting humanity’s cultural heritage, promoting international exchange and cooperation in cultural heritage, and building a global community of shared future, efforts will be made to enhance dialogue and discussion in bilateral cooperation under frameworks and within bodies like UNESCO, ICOMOS, IIC, and the Alliance for Cultural Heritage in Asia, in addition to hosting the Taihe Forum, and implementing the “Taihe Fellowship” program.

Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, addresses the opening ceremony of the 6th Taihe Forum and delivers a keynote speech.

Wang Xudong noted in his speech that the Taihe Forum was designed to provide a platform for international exchange and cooperation and to create opportunities for future communication and joint construction. As the institutional custodian for its treasure trove of Chinese culture, the Palace Museum is keen to work with cultural heritage professionals on the Global Civilization Initiative, continue to strengthen international exchanges, engage widely in international cooperation, preserve and promote the  cultural heritage of humanity, and proactively advance mutual learning among civilizations for human progress.

Following the opening ceremony, Wang Xudong, Lina Mendoni, and John Robbins, chairperson of the Governing Board of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, delivered keynote speeches concerning “Strengthening International Cooperation and Sharing in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage to Promote Cultural Communication and Exchanges,” “Strengthening the Resilience of Cultural Heritage Sites to the Impacts of Climate Change: Current State, Prospects and Challenges,” and “The Important Role Played by International Organizations in Promoting Cultural Heritage Protection,” respectively. Their presentations reviewed experiences, opportunities, and challenges in cultural heritage preservation, highlighting the importance of international exchanges and cooperation.

Lina Mendoni, minister of culture in Greece, delivers a keynote speech at the forum.

John Robbins, chairperson of the Governing Board of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, delivers a keynote speech at the forum.

The forum aims to foster exchanges of experience concerning international cooperation projects, academic interactions, talent cultivation, and institutional development across cultural heritage preservation. It seeks to augment awareness regarding the current state and evolving trends in cultural heritage preservation, encourage comparative research on concepts, principles, methods, technologies, and standards, and propel international cooperation, exchanges, and knowledge sharing in this domain.

The two-day forum, focusing on the topics “Cultural Heritage Conservation and International Interaction”, “Cultural Heritage Conservation and International Cooperation”, and “Cultural Heritage Conservation and International Sharing,” concluded on Oct. 17. Seventeen domestic and international guests were invited to speak at five academic presentations, approached from the perspectives of institutional building, talent development, and academic achievements. Their discussions revolved around the role of international organizations in promoting cultural heritage preservation, explored bilateral or multilateral international cooperation projects on large-scale cultural heritage preservation, and introduced the significance of international standards, norms, and regulations in cultural relics preservation. Through “dialogue between guests,” the forum discussed topics like “The Role that International Organizations Should Play in Promoting the Development of Cultural Heritage Conservation,” “The Role of Bilateral or Multilateral International Cooperation Projects in Promoting the Conservation of Cultural Heritage”, and “The Growing Trends in Standardization of Cultural Heritage Conservation.” Additionally, participants conducted field visits and exchanged views on the preservation efforts of the Palace Museum and the latest technological advancements.

The Taihe Forum, initiated by the Palace Museum in 2016, is an international platform for cooperation and exchange. During the inaugural event, the Palace Museum, participating countries, and relevant international organizations collectively released The Declaration of Supreme Harmony. The document aims to promote the protection and development of human civilization. The forum is committed to studying and discussing the challenges for preserving the cultural heritage of ancient civilizations in the current international environment. It also strives to foster exchanges and cooperation on cultural heritage, while highlighting the enduring significance of ancient civilizations in shaping contemporary human society.

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