Welcome by Mieczyslaw Kozlowski,
Chairman of the Polish Host Committee

Opening session Sunday 9 July 2000, 15.00 -17.00

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests,

On behalf of the Polish Host Committee I would like to express great satisfaction that the conference of such strategic importance is being held in Poland, in Cracow. During the next days we will discuss the legal, medical and educational situation in the represented countries. But first and foremost, we will create the vision of a uniform policy towards the visually impaired which could be adopted by governments and parliaments in the whole of Europe. All of you here dedicate your work to the well-being of visually impaired newborn children and children at a preschool-, school- or college age. In the days to come we will discuss various subjects in the field of visual impairment and we will do this in all candour: we are not going to avoid thorny questions.

But let's look at the exhibitions in the Conference Center how joyful and optimistic they are. Think of the joint efforts of school and university teachers, parents and members of unions of the disabled.
It has turned out that our achievements have been possible because of the well-prepared programmes and devotion of staff, and not merely because of available funds.

We are grateful that we have received support from the state authorities, the President Aleksander Kwasniewski and his wife Jolanta. We would like to thank the parliamentarians and central institutions especially the Mayor of Cracow, the Voivode and President of the Provincial Sejm of Malopolska.
Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr Tadeusz Mekarski, the president of the Fund for Rehabilitation of the Handicapped in Malopolska.

I wish all the participants of the conference, journalists and members of the local authorities greet satisfaction of the fact that new visions and strategies concerning educational policy, rehabilitation and help for the visually impairment are going to be created during this conference in Cracow.

I would like to pay tribute to the President of the European Committee, Dr Herman Gresnigt for the organization of the conference, his involvement and determination. All of us should follow in his footsteps as it is the only way to make real progress and success. Once again I wish you fruitful debates, challenging discussions and satisfactory solutions.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Special School Dla Dzieci Niewidomych I Slabowidzacych
Ul. Tyniecka 7
30-319 Krakow, Poland
Fax: +48 12 266 86 22
E-mail: sosw@blind.krakow.pl

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