30th Anniversary UNESCO-Chair-Programme

Prof. Dr. Christoph Wulf

Prof. Dr. Christoph Wulf
Vizepräsident der Deutschen UNESCO-Kommission

Rede im Rahmen der Internationalen UNESCO-Lehrstuhl-Konferenz "Cultures for Sustainable Futures" zum Programmpunkt "30th Anniversary UNESCO-Chair-Programme"



- Es gilt das gesprochene Wort! –

Dear Mr. Tawil,
dear Mr. Werlen,
dear Mr. Pinto,
dear UNESCO-Chairholders,
dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to address you today on behalf of the German Commission for UNESCO. Over the past two days we have been able to experience in an impressive way what it means to be part of the international network of UNESCO Chairs.

We got many impulses from the different perspectives represented at this conference. In the discussions we have seen the diversity of the network, but also its cohesion under the umbrella of the sustainable development goals. International cooperation and interdisciplinary approaches are the characteristics of a strong and future oriented understanding of science.

On behalf of the German Commission for UNESCO I would like to express our gratitude that in the year of the 30th anniversary of the UNESCO Chairs Programme, this second International Conference of UNESCO Chairs could be realized in Jena. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all participants and the organizers once again!

Visionary Decision

The challenges for mankind have evolved in the past 30 years. Sometimes we certainly would like to travel back to certain points in history to take a different path than mankind took. When the Club of Rome published its first study about the risks of our way of life, we didn’t see the chance to invest in alternative forms of progress at this time.

In retrospect, the decision by UNESCO to establish the Chair Programme was all the more visionary: It has been a wise decision to create very concrete hubs of research and Higher Education related to the values and the topics of UNESCO. Today, the members of the growing network are visible links between the international Academia and the world community. Within their universities they play a vital role to establish the awareness for sustainability and to motivate young people to work on UNESCO goals. You, the chairholders, have an immediate impact on the local educational landscape, but also on a global scale as part of the worldwide network of 850 Chairs in 117 countries.

Together for the 2030 Agenda

Although there was no Agenda 2030 in 1992, 30 years ago, the network followed the idea of sharing knowledge to enhance sustainability, to develop a comprehensive understanding of sustainability from the very beginning.
Nowadays UNESCO and its national commissions have the unique chance to refer to the chairs as a decentralised think tank, covering a multitude of disciplines. And at the same time, this decentralised think tank is a strong and reliable community in itself.

Education as key to peace worldwide

Anchoring peace in people's minds - that's what UNESCO has been helping to do for over 75 years through cooperation in education, science, culture and communication to maintain peace worldwide.

Especially in the current situation, it is important to be aware of this and to keep reminding yourself of it. A conference like this and a network that has existed for 30 years and continues to grow are good signs that we can also look to the future with optimism and courage.

Keeping that in mind, I would like to conclude by thanking you all for your daily commitment to UNESCO`s goals and values.

As German Commission for UNESCO, we will continue to actively support the German network of UNESCO-Chairs, and we will continue and intensify the good cooperation, in order to learn and benefit from each other even more.

In this spirit, I congratulate you all on the 30th anniversary of the Network of UNESCO Chairs. You are the representatives of this network working for a courageous, visionary and peaceful future!

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