I welcome you to the International Organization of Folk Art’s (IOV’s) World Youth Congress in Krakow, a beautiful city that reminds me of love and friendship. You are in one of the European Union’s leading countries in terms of heritage, civilization, and contributions to heritage, and its people are among the most peace-loving in the world.
I am pleased to convey the greetings of IOV’s Executive Board, and their pride in the successful organization of this Congress. We have great hopes for young people and their efforts to bring change. The slogan ‘Time to Change’ was launched at the General Assembly with the support of all members. It signifies that the next four years will be a time of comprehensive change, a time to recommit to our vision and achieve our goals in light of the challenging circumstances in the world around us.
I doubt that anyone fails to realize the magnitude of the challenges facing all cultures, religions, races and languages as a result of the conflicts among sects and races and the policies of displacement, hegemony and acquisition. These challenges leave heritage - one of the most important components of culture - vulnerable.
Our hopes lie in the IOV’s youth, whom you represent, and in young people playing a vital role in the course of events. Today we invite every branch of the organization, regardless of size or geographic location, to take action to preserve material and intangible cultural heritage, which are inseparable.
We need organized and systematic efforts based on good governance. The IOV’s leadership seeks to achieve this quickly by reorganizing the organization's branches in every region of the world, and by strengthening the IOV's activities in the international arena under the umbrella of UNESCO and in collaboration with partner organizations and the governments of sponsoring countries.
We hope the organization of this Congress will help to improve the IOV. I would like to thank the organizers and to commend the Chair and members of the IOV’s Polish branch for their work over the years.
We began working to enhance the IOV’s role months ago. I call on you to support our efforts to make changes by supporting the IOV’s branches in your respective countries, by improving the role of folk bands, and by presenting your observations and suggestions regarding this change. We need your youthful energy to flow into the roots of this tree so that it will bear fruit.
I thank you and wish you every success with this Congress.
President of the International Organization of Folk Art