The keynote address by Former President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Wałęsa, who was not able to attend the opening of the 40th World Scout Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, was delivered by John May, Vice Chairman of the World Scout Committee.
Mr. Scott A. Teare, General Secretary of WOSM
Participants of the 40th World Conference of Scouts in Slovenia
Ladies & Gentlemen,
I was extremely happy to receive the invitation to the 40th World Scout Conference in Slovenia, as matters concerning the upbringing of the young generation are very close to my heart. I am sorry to inform you that due to personal reasons I am unable to be with you celebrating this jubilee. However, I would like to extend my gratitude to Mr Zbigniew Niemczycki, who has been supporting the Polish Scouts, for his attendance at the event on my behalf. Let me take this opportunity to say that Polish Scouting traditions and their active contribution to Polish community life have for years had a strong impact on the Polish youth’s upbringing.
The work that International Scout and Guide Community carry out cannot be overestimated, especially when we are faced with many new challenges. We are currently witnessing the change of eras, the world is becoming more and more fast-paced, while we have to do all we can not to overlook the good of man and the most precious values. In many a place, Scouting remains the mainstay of such values, as well as of the concern for others. For years I have been proclaiming that the new Europe and the world should build on a set of agreed universal values. It is on these values that we need to establish all programmes and structures which will shape the world as safe, prosperous and friendly.
The Scouting community has been and must remain the place of the education of human conscience; the individual who will want and will know how to help others, an individual who will always be in solidarity with others. When working with young people, remember that it is through fun and education that we have to prepare them for their adulthood and a responsible life. Today, the main socio-economic problem in the world, particularly affecting young people, is the lack of jobs, and resulting from that, lack of opportunities, hope, and prospects. It is a great task to prepare young people to cope with these challenges, to teach them how to discover their own talents, grow their potential, and develop creativity and entrepreneurship. We need to educate young people to be resourceful, open-minded, and community-oriented. Several years ago in Argentina, Spain, and recently in Greece, mainly young unemployed people were protesting. We must do everything in order to prevent them from going out into streets in search of hope. We must do everything to provide them with job opportunities which are the basis of stability, security, and development. We must do it for every individual and civilization as a whole. No one can be left as disadvantaged....
For years your mission has been yielding beautiful fruit. I believe that you will not cease in your effort to contribute to the promotion of global solidarity across boundaries and borders. Seek common values for peoples and nations, which can become a solid reference point for our civilization. Do it with passion, openness, truthfulness, and dialoguing.
Even though I may no longer be an active politician, you are bound to come across me when searching for new solutions. This discussion should be open to everyone, on every level, be it locally, nationally, or internationally. The discussion should be carried out by all citizens: representing local, national, and international governments. This planning of the future world should bring together representatives of educational organizations, such as WOSM and WAGGGS. It is the task we all have to accomplish, which is not easy...
I deeply believe that we can work out a solution that will satisfy not only us, but will also provide a response to contemporary problems. I hope that more and more people are able to rise above divisions, avoiding conflicts, wars, and civilizational dangers. Once again the world needs solidarity and shared responsibility. The Scouting movement has the advantage of having for long spoken of peace, cooperation, and action for the common good, it works globally and understands the concept of a global community and cooperation. Of major importance is also the fact that when supporting the cooperation of Scouting organizations, you do not only focus on the international level, but also nationally. Stemming from different circles, the organizations have often been shaped in different traditions. Thus the cooperation should consist in getting to know one another and the skill to face the shared challenges within the world Scouting family. I am deeply confident that such an example of solidarity cooperation will additionally yield a great interest in the Scouting idea, and will eventually increase the number of young people grouped in packs and troops.
I encourage all the Participants of this year's Conference to take part in an open discussion and to make an attempt to develop action strategies for the years to come, so that we reach the best solutions in the spirit of solidarity and community, looking into the future with much hope.
With best regards from the Polish Scouts, let me close with their traditional greeting: “Czuwaj!”, “Be prepared!”