In recent years, China has been at the forefront of leading global initiatives targeted at creating sustainable peace and prosperity.

At a time when the entire world is in difficult moments, especially with economies recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis, China has stepped up, as expected of the second-largest economy in the world, and provided concrete gateways that are workable and could lead to global peace and stability.

When you track some of the new global initiatives launched by China, it suffices to say that the world could and indeed needs a new paradigm different from the current status quo of confrontation and unnecessary antagonism, a paradigm shift that China is currently offering.

Let’s track and understand how China is stepping up to provide the leadership the world desperately needs to create sustainable peace and growth.

Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative

The need for cooperation, unity, and communication is greater than ever as nations around the world grapple with similar issues as they work to find peace and progress and explore modernization.

However, the ingrained issues of mistrust, discord, and conflict continue to obstruct global cooperation.

In 2021, China introduced the Global Development Initiative and followed it up in 2022 with the Global Security Initiative.

H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, introduced the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) in a keynote speech at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting in March 2023.

This makes the GCI the third of such global initiatives spearheaded by China, providing a new positive paradigm shift in thinking about security that puts more emphasis on cooperation than on alliances and on communication than on fighting and confrontation.

We have already witnessed the Global Security Initiative in practice, judging from the historic deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran brokered by China. No arms were raised, and no sanctions were imposed, but only dialogues and extensive consultations. The peaceful Middle East means a peaceful world for all. This sets the stage for a new and more effective alternative to resolving conflicts around the world.

China’s steadfast resolve to create a community with a shared future for humanity is reflected in the three Global Initiatives of Civilization, Security, and Development. These great ideas and activities are supported by China’s 5,000-year civilization, which fosters the advancement of ongoing theoretical innovation while contributing to the development of current civilizational ideals and conceptions.

The Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) in Practice

The Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) is a sincere appeal to the entire world for extensive inter-civilizational communication and exchanges to promote human civilizations through inclusivity and mutual learning.

It encompasses four key pillars: respect for the diversity of civilizations, advocating the common values of humanity, highly valuing the inheritance and innovation of civilizations, and jointly advocating robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

Major country rivalries are intensifying, geopolitical conflicts are worsening, changes not seen in a century are happening quickly, the global security governance system is woefully behind, and new conventional and unconventional security threats are constantly emerging, making our world anything but peaceful.

The GCI includes not only the fundamental ideas and precepts of how various civilizations can live in harmony and learn from one another, but also the source of inspiration and a realistic route to manifestation.

It is a sizable initiative that is extremely beneficial, practical, and long-lasting. It promotes tolerance for diverse civilizations and supports their right to progress, fully satisfying the pressing demands of the global community. Since its inception, it has displayed strong vitality, inspiring positive reactions in the global community.

The GCI is a sincere response to countries’ shared ambitions for preserving the equality, inclusivity, and diversity of world civilizations.

Diversity of Civilization

Tolerance, peaceful coexistence, exchanges, and mutual learning amongst other civilizations all contribute significantly to the modernization of humanity and the flourishing of the global civilizational garden.

This pillar speaks to the true essence of upholding the principles of equality and mutual respect for different civilizations and ushering in cultural exchanges without any prejudice about the superiority of one civilization over the other.

This fully satisfies the pressing demands of the global community by promoting respect for all civilizations and supporting their rights to development.

China’s desire is to collaborate with all nations in pursuing modernization while preserving the unique characteristics of each nation, as well as promote global inter-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning for the growth of human civilizations.

Common Values of Humanity

The modernization of humanity has once again come to a turning point in its history. The Cold War mindset is still lingering, the development gap is expanding, the natural environment is worsening, and the global economic recovery is still sluggish.

Reversing these phenomena and creating peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom are the common aspirations of all peoples.

Countries must maintain an open mind when recognizing how different civilizations interpret values and abstain from imposing their own ideals or models on others or inciting ideological conflict.

Inheritance and Innovation of Civilizations

This pillar advocates for countries to push for the creative transformation and innovative development of their exquisite traditional cultures. They must fully utilize the relevance of their histories and cultures to the present.

Tolerance, coexistence, exchanges, and mutual learning among other civilizations play an indispensable role in promoting humanity’s modernization process because the futures of all countries are interconnected.

People-to-People Exchanges

It has become even more essential to step up inter-civilizational exchanges for closer people-to-people connectivity.

In order to foster understanding and friendship between the citizens of all nations and jointly advance the development of human civilizations, countries must investigate the creation of a global network for inter-civilizational dialogue and cooperation, enrich the content of exchanges, and expand avenues of cooperation.

The GCI is therefore a logical reaction to the global community’s need for increased inter-civilizational communication and exchanges as well as more robust cultural growth.

Drawing boundaries based on ideology and beliefs, dividing people, and inciting conflict only serve to devastate the planet and defile civilizations.

In order for humanity to benefit from the best of all civilizations, we need a thorough understanding of the history and foundations of each one in order to foster the growth of human society and the creation of a human community with a common destiny.

We need practical tools to overcome obstacles and cultural and ethical resources to draw strength from in order to meet our shared global challenges. The Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) could become the catalyst for promoting dialogue between civilizations, which will eventually advance the harmonious development of the world and create sustainable peace and shared prosperity.

Written by: Paul Frimpong, Executive Director, ACCPA

Researcher Profile

Paul Frimpong
Executive Director & Senior Research Fellow
Africa-China Centre for Policy & Advisory.

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