ANNEX VII. Closing address by Mr Dominique Föllmi, State Councillor, Head of the Public Education Department of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, and Head of the Swiss Delegation
We have spent six days conferring together, discussing and getting to know one another. The time for discussion has come to an end and we must now take stock of what we have achieved. My message will therefore be brief and I trust, above all cordial.
The theme selected for our discussions was an ambitious one. But that is in the nature of all issues that go to the root of things. I believe that it is one of the duties of ministers to rise above their immediate concerns and problems of management, administration and finance in order to give thought to the main thrust of their work. This Conference has provided us with such an opportunity.
More than 50 years ago, the great French educationist, Célestin Freinet, exposed the dangers of forms of instruction -and education -that offered no prospects. The contribution of education to development now affords us one of the most promising outlooks for the task ahead of us. It cannot be dissociated from the theme of education for all and the theme of literacy education, in the real sense of the term (which means much more than learning to read, write and count), in developing and developed countries alike. What has brought us together is a common vision of training providing access to culture and of culture as a formative force. The mission of each and every one of us at the close of this twentieth century is to help to mould men and women capable of putting down roots in order to rediscover themselves; expressing themselves in order to communicate; understanding the world around them in order to become a part of it; engaging in enriching and creative action with a view to achieving self-fulfilment; adopting a critical attitude, the better to control their environment; meeting together in order to share things more fairly; and making an active commitment to the construction of a better world.
Culture and education are dynamic ideas and that is why I have deliberately used the active voice in this brief list.
I should like to say how impressed I have been with the work achieved by the delegations, and, in particular, by the Chairmen and Reporters, as well as by Mr Tohmé and his team at the IBE and by the Secretariat of UNESCO.
The time has come to say goodbye. Geneva and Switzerland have been pleased to offer us their hospitality for several days. We hope that, in spite of the long hours you have spent working, you have found time to appreciate this country which is so dear to our hearts and which you have seen at its best, in sunshine and under blue skies.
We wish you a pleasant journey, an excellent return to your own countries and, above all, a fresh determination to engage in our mission in the service of education, culture and development.
[Ukrainian] [English] [Russian]