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The European Culture Congress started in Wrocław

The European Culture Congress in Wrocław, one of the major events of the cultural programme of Polish Presidency, has officially started. The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of state administration and European institutions. The inaugural lecture was given by Professor Zygmunt Bauman.

The ceremony inaugurating the European Culture Congress, held in the Centennial Hall in Wrocław, was attended by: President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski, President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek, Marshal of the Sejm Grzegorz Schetyna, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget Janusz Lewandowski, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski, Mayor of the City of Wrocław Rafał Dutkiewicz and Director of the National Audiovisual Institute Michał Merczyński. All the speakers emphasised the importance of culture for the development of European civilisation. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth, expressed her appreciation for the cultural programme of the Polish Presidency in the Council of the European Union and referred to it as one of the most ambitious in history. Culture is Europe's biggest capital, emphasised Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski in the speech that officially opened the European Culture Congress.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Zygmunt Bauman reflected on the future of the European community, understood as a political, geographical and cultural phenomenon. Professor referred to Gadamer's words, “To live with the Other, to live like the Other's Other, this is the fundamental task of a human”, and stressed that the experience of living with the Other, particularly for Europe, is enriching, but not always easy. Zygmunt Bauman indicated that at present, the Other in Europe is often one's next-door neighbour, with whom one must enter into dialogue. As Professor said, the political future of Europe depends on the situation of culture. Today's world, as seen from above, seems to have become an archipelago of diasporas, a multi-layer reality woven of diverse identities, experiences and traditions. For this reason, it is necessary to redefine European identity and open ourselves to its liquid nature. Zygmunt Bauman concluded his lecture by saying, “It is high time we considered that the geographical past of Central Europe might be the future of the European culture.”

Professor Zygmunt Bauman has been involved in the preparation of the Congress almost from the very beginning. On the initiative of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and especially for the Congress, he wrote a book on the birth and evolution of the notion of culture and its potential development direction is the future. “Culture in a Liquid Modern World” was published in the spring of 2011 in Poland and in the United Kingdom. The publication lays down the intellectual framework of the Congress.

The transcript of the lecture will be available on www.culturecongress.eu

For more information about the Congress, go to: www.culturecongress.eu
Media contact:
Agnieszka Wolak, public relations officer for the National Audiovisual Institute
T. +48 22 380 49 75
M. 0503 099 013
E-mail: agnieszka.wolak@nina.gov.pl