RHODES, Greece, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- A century after the outbreak of the First World War, hundreds of public figures, academics, representatives of nongovernmental and religious groups, the business world, arts, media as well as youth movements from worldwide gathered on the Greek island of Rhodes to exchange views on the lessons of history, speak about the present challenges for mankind and pave the way to avert similar catastrophic wars in the future.
The curtain of the 12th World Public Forum (WPF) "Dialogue of Civilizations" closed on Sunday evening after four-day marathon sessions and workshops on the main theme of this year's event which was "Preventing World War through Global Solidarity - 100 years on."
Delegates, among them President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, former Secretary General of the Council of Europe and WPF Co-Chairman Walter Schwimmer and the Princess of Bahrain HH Shaikha Dheya bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa, left Greece by Monday afternoon with the widespread conviction that the 12th Rhodes Forum gave boost to the dialogue of civilizations and overall international efforts to build a better world.
In the concluding remarks, the forum's founding President Russian Vladimir Yakunin outlined the results of the lively discussions which took place this year in Rhodes among 400 intellectuals and activists, along with 100 young active citizens from 65 countries and regions across the globe.
Participants at the 12th Rhodes Forum and the parallel 5th Rhodes Youth Forum expressed deep concern over the culmination of tensions in international affairs and suggested concrete steps to support efforts to address issues peacefully and eliminate the threat of war.
Promoting an alternative model for mankind to move forward the 12th Rhodes Forum joining Forces with the 5th Rhodes Youth Forum announced a series of initiatives towards this direction, which include the establishment of a WPF think-tank and Schools of Intercultural Dialogue.
Youth had a strong presence in the forum this year. "Positive participation of young people in the life of society: from individual initiatives to collective cooperation" was the characteristic title of the Youth Forum's program organized by the Youth Time, the international nongovernmental and non political youth movement founded in 2010 in Prague on the principles of the Rhodes Forum for adults.
Among the highlights of the 12th Rhodes Forum was the five-hour workshop hosted by Chinese experts under the title "The Silk Road: the Past and the Future of Dialogue of Civilizations" which attracted the interest of delegates.
Scholars from China, Russia and Canada presented the Silk Road's role in the economic development and cultural exchanges of civilizations in the past and the great benefits of its resurrection.
Co-founded by Yakunin from Russia, C. Kapur from India and N. Papanikolao from Greece, the Rhodes Forum has organized several public debates and international research projects, promoting the dialogue of civilizations as the way to overcome challenges and shape a peaceful world.
Since 2013 the discussion platform World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" enjoys United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Special Consultative Status.
Since the start of the 21st century, the Rhodes Forum unites into single network international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), representatives of public and state institutions, civil society organizations and faith-based groups, academics, representatives of cultural, spiritual, business, and media spheres from countries worldwide.