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World anthropologists back call for cultural diversity, equal rights

    KUNMING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) approved a declaration advocating a harmonious world, common prosperity and cultural diversity, as the 16th IUAES congress ended here Friday.  

    "The Kunming Declaration was strongly supported by the IUAES General Assembly," said IUAES General Secretary Peter J.M. Nas at the closing ceremony of the five-day congress, held for the first time in China, Friday afternoon.  

    "The approval of Kunming Declaration proves that scholars from all over the world have reached a consensus on important subjects in the international academy, and that the cooperation between Chinese and international academies has entered a new stage," said Yang Jing, director of the State Nationalities Affairs Commission.  

    The declaration illustrated to the world from the standpoint of anthropology the scientific development, a harmonious society, ethnic equality and cultural diversity as proposed by China, said Huang Zhongcai, secretary general of the organizing committee.  

    "This is the first time China has made its voice heard by the international anthropological and ethnological circles on the world stage for almost a hundred years," said Huang.  

    "Cultural diversity is a great achievement in human adaptation, a powerful demonstration of the uniqueness of the human thirst for innovation and originality, and also a sound basis for communitarian interaction and a boundless fountain of individual happiness," the declaration said.  

    "The international community must respect equal rights for economic development among developing countries, ethnic minorities, vulnerable groups, and subaltern communities. Their cultural integrity, social dignity, and rights for expression must be respected as well," it said.  

    The IUAES congress, a quinquennial gathering, drew more than 4,000 scholars and experts from all over the world who discussed a broad range of issues, including cultural diversity, AIDS, child trafficking, global aging, ethnicity, urban development, religions and linguistic evolution.  

    The event also featured lectures, exhibitions and field trips.  

"The expositions have shown us a lot about Chinese culture and the different ethnic groups in the country. This great cultural variety was exposed in a very attractive form and well explained by the many volunteers that guided the visitors," Nas said. 

    IUAES President Luis Alberto Vargas told Xinhua earlier in the congress that he found the work by  the Chinese government in relation to the minorities was "something to be known world over."  

    "Many countries have the same situation as China does. That is a country having multiple nationalities. But not all countries have learned to handle this situation. The way that China is doing is just one of several possibilities. I think it has to be known to the world because it's getting good results," he said.  

    He also mentioned that Chinese anthropology was beginning to have its own personality, due to the nature and history of this country.  

    At the closing ceremony, Vargas announced that the incumbent Secretary General Peter J.M. Nas would be the new President of IUAES. 

    The next Congress of 2013 would be held in Manchester, the United Kingdom with the theme of "Evolving humanity, emerging worlds", said Vargas.



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