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Greetings Patronage Global Citizen / Unesco Student Meeting Damp

Karin Prien, Bildungsministerin (Foto: Frank Peter)

Dear participants,

the Unesco project “Global Citizen 2030” is a great initiative. Especially at a time when nationalistic thinking is spreading again, unfortunately also in Europe, it is invaluable for young people to think across borders when they meet pupils from other countries and when they create new personal networks. The Americans call this “grassroot diplomacy”. This is the right way and it is at least as important as contacts between state leaders. And you embody the future.

Therefore, I am very happy to take over the patronage for this event. And I also think it is great that the conference of UNESCO project schools is taking place here in the north. Schleswig-Holstein has always had a hub function in the Baltic Sea region. The tradition goes back far beyond the beginnings of the Hanseatic League. And therefore, it makes sense to “network” the Baltic Sea countries with each other and to invite guests from all over the world. I would like to emphasize that representatives from Russia are also present. This is by no means self-evident in these days, but instead, an important gesture. Especially in difficult political times you must make an effort to establish contacts, to build bridges.

Damp is about sustainable development – and the fight against environmental degradation, climate change and social division can only be won through international cooperation. This is already well expressed in the heading “Global Citizen 2030”. Yes, one may also be proud to stand up for it: For the global “We” that you live by and set as your mission statement.

It also expresses how we deal with one another. The global “we” does not tolerate hierarchies. Therefore, at this conference there is no difference in status between students, on the one hand, and teachers, on the other, as they participate together in the many activities, such as workshops and excursions. Yes, as a Minister of Education, I am very sympathetic to the fact that all participants have the same rights and treat each other as equals. Participation and having a say are democratic values. And you will be living these at this conference.

I am very keen to put more emphasis on democratic values ​​in our schools. We should re-embody the importance of democracy and the understanding of democratic processes in our society. And this point is being conveyed at this conference. You are sending an important message to others, near and far.

Welcome to Damp! Welcome to Schleswig-Holstein! I am very pleased and honored to host the Unesco Project Schools and the “Baltic Sea Project”.

Karin Prien
Minister for Education, Science and Culture of the State of Schleswig-Holstein

(to the German version)