In the picturesque Tiantai county of Zhejiang Province, East China, the 2023 Global Forum on Hehe Culture commenced, drawing together a diverse group of around 500 scholars, government officials, and international diplomats from over 10 countries, including the US, Japan, South Korea, and Bulgaria. This congregation marks a significant effort to seek inspiration from the ancient Chinese Hehe culture to foster global harmony and mutual understanding.
The essence of Hehe culture, rooted in the wisdom of ancient China, centers around principles of harmony and balance. Originating from the Tiantai Mountains in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, Hehe culture encapsulates the ideals of harmony (the first ‘he’) and convergence, unity, and cooperation (the second ‘he’). These values, according to forum participants, are crucial in guiding current efforts to resolve global conflicts and build trust among people and nations.
Irina Bokova, former director-general of UNESCO, highlighted the timeliness and relevance of Hehe culture in addressing modern challenges such as climate change and biodiversity protection. Emphasizing the importance of cultural diversity, she pointed out that every culture contributes to the vast river of human civilization. Hehe culture, with its foundations in Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, exemplifies the ability of diverse ideas to bring people closer and foster a more inclusive world.
Yukio Hatoyama, former Japanese prime minister, underscored the importance of the Hehe culture’s “heart of peace” in navigating the current complex global landscape. He advocated for mutual respect, understanding, and assistance as key principles in confronting humanitarian crises and global tensions.
Both Bokova and Hatoyama were honored as “ambassadors of Hehe culture,” acknowledging their contributions to promoting these values internationally.
David William Ferguson, a notable proponent of Hehe culture, also emphasized its foundational role in the Global Civilization Initiative and the concept of a global community with a shared future. He stressed the need for a new multipolar order where diverse voices are heard and respected, reflecting the Hehe principle of embracing harmony while setting aside differences.
The forum also witnessed the launch of the Hehe World Initiative. Youth representatives from various countries, including China, Lebanon, Belarus, Brazil, Japan, and India, expressed their collective aspiration to promote the spirit of Hehe culture and contribute to building a more harmonious world. Adham Sayed from Lebanon highlighted the significance of Hehe culture’s message of harmony and peace, especially for youth in conflict-prone regions.
Chinese karate champion Li Qiaoqiao shared her personal experiences of Hehe culture in sports, emphasizing the importance of friendship over competition and how this mindset helped her maintain calm and tolerance in competitive environments.
To further the reach of Hehe culture, the forum saw the release of both Chinese and English editions of the book “This is Hehe Culture.” A documentary trailer on Hehe culture was also screened, illustrating the culture’s rich history and its relevance to contemporary global challenges. This initiative represents a significant step in promoting the ancient wisdom of Hehe culture as a beacon of peace and cooperation in today’s tumultuous world.