Founder’s Speech

For me, the Institute of Euro-Asian Culture was an obvious choice since I train Chinese students in interculturality. Such an organization was missing in the associative landscape both in Europe and in Asia. It is now a reality, we will be able to exchange between our two continents and get closer under the positive angle of the culture. It is a civil society organization that fulfills this mission. This aspect is, in my opinion, very important.

I hope that you, who are joining us today, will feel the same excitement as I do. With the Institute of Euro-Asian Culture, we are beginning a new cultural exploration. I admit that things have changed a lot since the golden age of our modern adventurers at the beginning of the 20th century (René Caillé, Pierre Loti…) or in ancient China with Zhang Qian and Zheng He. We are not going to take boats, ride camels, and I don’t know what else! Globalization has turned our relationships upside down. Otherness has been transformed into a singular experience.

The Institute of Euro-Asian Culture is a connection between two different civilizations. The Chinese civilization is in many ways the opposite of the European one. Victor Segalen, a traveler of the aesthetics of diversity, had measured this during his peregrinations in China. 

This is still true despite globalization, the emergence of new generations and the fear of standardization. This cultural diversity between our two continents remains observable. I have been able to observe it, not only on the cultural classics (food, communication, etc.), but also on the academic level. For example, “involution” is a new characteristic phenomenon that you will discover by rubbing shoulders with a brilliant Chinese youth. 

In this context, the Institute’s mission is to encourage students’ exchanges between the two continents. It is an invitation, according to a quote from Victor Segalen, to “honor the men in the man and the rest in its diversity”.

The Institute of Euro-Asian Culture is the concrete implementation of the dialogue of civilizations. As the crow flies, Paris and Beijing are more than 8,217 km apart. For many Europeans, Asia is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an exotic country. The geographical distance plays on our imagination: everything is mysterious! The way Asia looks at Europe is sometimes the result of this same dreaming process.

The absence or the bad knowledge of the other presents a danger that some have theorized as a clash of civilizations. In human history, conflicts have arisen from misunderstandings and the lack of space for dialogue.

However, the world of today, as the philosopher Edouard Glissant has remarkably studied, is a whole-world (“Act in your place, think with the world”) symbolized by the state of mundiality and relationship, that is, the interpenetration of cultures.

With the founders, we believe in sharing, we believe in exchange. We work to respect the cultures of each civilization. We encourage otherness and the civilization of the universal (the contribution of each civilization to humanity).

These are the values carried by this institution for the youth and students of these two great continents.

We welcome you!