8th World Conference of Historical Cities
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Day 3 — Wednesday October 8, 2003


General Assembly of the League of Historical Cities

General Assembly

Yorikane Masumoto, Mayor of Kyoto and Chairperson of the League, declared the Assembly open. After examining the financial statements, the 2002 activities report and the budget forecast for the current financial period, League members agreed on the choice of location for the next Assembly in 2005: Gyeongju, South Korea. They also took the opportunity to warmly congratulate the representatives of Kazan, Tatarstan, which will hold its millennial celebrations in 2005.

Helen Fotopulos then thanked the various partners for the way they encouraged the establishment of such traditions of cooperation and exchange, and officially presented the text of the Montréal Declaration, as modified during the meeting of the members of the Board on Tuesday October 7. The Montréal Declaration was then unanimously adopted. Mr. Yorikane Masumoto announced that the signing of the Declaration would take place later the same day at 2 p.m., during the Conference closing ceremonies.

The Assembly concluded with a short presentation by the Mayor of Gyeongju, Sang Seung Baek.


Sang Seung Baek
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Closing Ceremonies

The closing ceremonies of the 8th World Conference of Historical Cities began with a summary report of the morning workshop sessions. The message delivered by Axumite Gebre-Egziabher, Director of the New York City office of UN-HABITAT (United Nations Human Settlements Programme), regarding the responsibility that all must take for the preservation, among other types of heritage, of the planet’s water resources was echoed by the participants, who warmly applauded her remarks.

Closing Ceremonies

Gérald Tremblay

Invited to the podium by Helen Fotopulos, Member of the City of Montréal Executive Committee Responsible for Culture and Heritage, Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of Montréal, said: “Citizens’ involvement and elected officials’ initiative are two sides of the same coin. Both groups have responsibilities vis-à-vis their heritage, and both must develop a new dynamic in which to exercise those responsibilities. Both groups have a wide array of tools available for gauging public opinion.

“In Montréal, we have created institutions for democratic participation such as the Conseil du Patrimoine, the borough councils, City Council commissions, the Office de consultation publique and the Conseil intercultural — in a city in which 50% of the population represents ethnocultural communities, the latter exists to showcase the immense heritage that comes to us from elsewhere. But at the end of the day, it is the elected officials who make the lasting decisions. They are responsible, and accountable.

“Each of our cities has its own personality, its own ways of doing things. Citizen involvement may proceed along different avenues from city to city, but those avenues are not necessarily contradictory. That is why we much exchange and compare ideas, listen, and learn from one another,” Mr. Tremblay concluded. He then invited everyone to take advantage of the superb late-afternoon weather to explore the streets of Old Montréal one last time before making their way back home.

Signature of the Montréal Declaration

Ms. Fotopulos presented the Montréal Declaration to the Assembly, and invited Chairperson Yorikane Masumoto, Mayor Tremblay and his colleagues, and the representatives of the League’s member cities to sign the Declaration.

Next, Ms. Fotopulos presented her closing remarks, summarizing the work accomplished at the Conference, and thanking the participants for their contributions to this important event. “I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in this wonderful meeting, which has been so important in nurturing discussions on our shared responsibility vis-à-vis history — both that which has passed, and that which is still in the making. For our goal here has truly been to ‘make history,’ by weaving our actions into the historical narrative of our shared urban existence,” she said.

Helen Fotopulos

Closing Ceremonies

Lastly, Chairperson Yorikane Masumoto concluded the 8th World Conference of Historical Cities, mentioning the magnificent job accomplished by Mayor Tremblay, Ms. Fotopulos, and Gilles Morel, Coordinator of the Conference, as well as “the many Montréal-based experts and citizens who nurtured our discussions through their active participation in our work. Thanks to you, we the mayors have learned a great deal from this conference. I believe that the League’s stature is elevated by conferences like this one, and we can all be justly proud of our success. The next step is to develop our parallel activities, by multiplying exchanges outside the meetings we hold every two years. That is the new direction in which I invite you all to steer your efforts between now and our next rendezvous in Gyeongju, in 2005.”

Chairperson Masumoto then invited everyone to attend the Gyeongju conference in large numbers, and declared the 8th World Conference of Historical Cities-Montréal 2003 officially closed.

      OLD MONTRÉAL Top of page

December 17, 2003