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Officials and scholars from both China and Greece hailed the United Nations (UN) Chinese Language Day with an event dedicated to the dialogue between Chinese and Greek languages and civilizations on Saturday evening.

They agreed that the increased bilateral exchanges in recent years in this field benefited both countries and the world.

"China and Greece are joining hands to create a model of mutual learning among civilizations, effectively showing the way towards a symbiosis of various civilizations in a century full of challenges and turmoil," Chinese Ambassador to Greece Xiao Junzheng said at the event.

Earlier this year, the centers of Greek and Chinese ancient civilization were formally established in the two countries, aiming at promoting exchanges of scholars and students to advance the study of the two civilizations.

"Learning each other's language and understanding each other's history have shortened the distance between our countries and our two peoples," Xiao added.

In recent years, the teaching of Greek and Chinese languages has become the most dynamic area of China-Greece education cooperation, he said.

Four Confucius institutes and the world's first online Chinese classroom have been established at Greek universities, while six universities in China are offering full-time undergraduate Greek language programs, he added.

"We strongly believe that education is one of the best ways to increase mutual understanding and peace. And the dialogue between our civilizations is at the center of this endeavor," said Odysseas Zoras, secretary general for higher education at Greece's Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and former guest professor at Shanxi Medical University in China.

Stelios Virvidakis, president of the Center of Greek and Chinese Ancient Civilizations outlined the projects underway in the center. Greek and Chinese scholars also gave mini-lectures on Greek and Chinese languages history and development, the origin of Greek and Chinese civilizations and other topics.

Apostolis Dimitropoulos, former secretary general of higher education at Greece's Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, said dialogue between the two countries representing two ancient civilizations is a unique opportunity, providing the basis for a better understanding of modern cultures, something extremely important in an era of globalization.

The UN Chinese Language Day is observed on April 20 every year since 2010. 

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