DG/2007/077 – Original: English
Address by Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO,
on the occasion of the opening ceremony
of an exhibition marking 35 years
of the Polish-German Textbook Commission
Wroclaw, Poland, 4 June 2007
Mayor of the City of Wroclaw,
Rector of the University of Wroclaw,
President of the Polish National Commission for UNESCO,
Madam Ambassador of Poland to UNESCO,
General Consul of Germany in Wroclaw,
Members of the German National Commission for UNESCO,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here today, for the opening of this exhibition marking 35 years
of the German-Polish Textbook Commission.
This is my third official visit to Poland, but the first time I have had the pleasure to
visit the historic city of Wroclaw. I wish to thank the Mayor for his warm hospitality,
and also applaud his work to preserve and promote the city’s heritage. It is in part
thanks to his efforts that I can look forward later this evening to the ceremony
celebrating the inscription last year of Wroclaw Centennial Hall on the UNESCO
World Heritage List.
Rich in historical memories, Wroclaw is a most fitting location for this exhibition
devoted to the role of history teaching in fostering international understanding and
DG/2007/077 - Page 2
I would like to congratulate the George Eckert Institute for International Textbook
Research and the Willy Brandt Centre for German and European Studies at the
University of Wroclaw for organizing this important exhibit.
I also wish to highlight the pioneering work of the Polish and German National
Commissions for UNESCO, who in 1972 formally agreed to establish the joint
Textbook Commission. The Commission’s purpose was – and remains – that of
promoting dialogue on the teaching of history and geography, with a view to
transforming textbooks into instruments of peace and reconciliation.
We witness here today the extraordinary achievements of this collaborative work.
The Polish-German Textbo