Expert: Cultural dialogue essential to Belt and Road development

Duan Xuelian China Plus Published: 2017-05-19 07:47:55
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The Prince's School of Traditional Arts is currently holding an exhibition titled “Sacred Art of the Silk Road: Dunhuang's Buddhist Cave Temples” in collaboration with the Dunhuang Academy and the Dunhuang Culture Promotion Foundation. [Photo:China Plus/Duan Xuelian]

The Prince's School of Traditional Arts is currently holding an exhibition titled “Sacred Art of the Silk Road: Dunhuang's Buddhist Cave Temples” in collaboration with the Dunhuang Academy and the Dunhuang Culture Promotion Foundation. [Photo: China Plus/Duan Xuelian]

Sir David Green was at the 2015 Boao Forum when Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled plans for the Belt and Road Initiative.

The former director general of the British Council says he's very pleased to see that there is a very strong cultural element to the initiative.

"I was very impressed with the cultural dimension of the initiative and he talked about the importance of the cultural aspect, intercultural dialogue and bringing people together through cultural exchange, very much in the tradition of the ancient Silk Road."

With a long career in bridging cultures and a deep passion for art, Sir David Green now chairs the Board of Trustees at the Prince's School of Traditional Arts in London.

He had the opportunity to meet with the Chinese President during his state visit to the UK in 2015.

"I met them with Prince Charles at his home in Clarence House. We had an exhibition of work from the Prince's School, we had two Chinese students who were doing their MA with us at the time. We explained to them about the work at the Prince's School and in particular the Dunhuang Project which the Chinese President was very interested in."

The Prince's School of Traditional Arts is currently holding an exhibition titled "Sacred Art of the Silk Road: Dunhuang's Buddhist Cave Temples."

Sir David Green speaks at the opening ceremony of the exhibition “Sacred Art of the Silk Road: Dunhuang's Buddhist Cave Temples” which is being held at the Prince's School of Traditional Arts in London. [Photo:China Plus/Duan Xuelian]

Sir David Green speaks at the opening ceremony of the exhibition “Sacred Art of the Silk Road: Dunhuang's Buddhist Cave Temples” which is being held at the Prince's School of Traditional Arts in London. [Photo: China Plus/Duan Xuelian]

Organized in collaboration with the Dunhuang Academy and the Dunhuang Culture Promotional Foundation, the exhibition includes a life-size, hand-painted replica of the Mogao Cave 3. One of the most exquisite Buddhist caves in Dunhuang, the Mogao Cave 3 is so delicate that it's been closed to the public.

Wang Xudong, director of the Dunhuang Academy said that Dunhuang is located at a strategic point along the ancient Silk Road, and had been a vibrant hub for cultural exchange. He believes that the Belt and Road Initiative will breathe new life into the cultural heritage of Dunhuang.

"We are not only bringing the exhibitions to the world's audience, but also sending experts, especially young researchers to different countries, in the hope that when they return to Dunhuan, they will think with a new and wider perspective. At the same time, we are inviting international scholars to Dunhuang and tell the story of this ancient culture with their own languages."

Wang said that under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, the first Silk Road International Culture Expo was held in Dunhuang in September 2016, and the second expo is scheduled for the same time this year.

For CRI, I'm Duan Xuelian in London.

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