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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 2, 2009
Economic Forum in Krynica
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Balancing Heritage and Development
September 2, 2009   
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Prof. Jacek Purchla, head of the International Cultural Centre (ICC), talks to Edyta Gajewska.

The center you established and head recently turned 18; What is the center's greatest achievement?
Looking back, you can see the strength of vision the first government in a free Poland had. Founding a modern international cultural institution in Cracow, an initiative by Tadeusz Mazowiecki's government, in a prestigious location on the Main Market Square, quickly proved a good idea. For many years, the ICC has been a major instrument helping Poland to open up to Europe (and now to other countries, such as India and Japan). On the other hand, in keeping with the original idea, it acts as a representative for Poland internationally.

This is the seventh time the ICC is taking part in the Economic Forum in Krynica, as usual with a stand presenting its publications and a discussion panel. This year saw the 20th anniversary of the first free elections in Poland. The ICC with the Council of Europe has prepared an international conference entitled Culture & Development 20 Years After the Fall of Communism in Europe. In July you discussed these issues with students from all over the world as part of the ICC Summer School program. Will this year's discussion panel at the Economic Forum also cover these topics?
Yes, this year's theme is "Culture Versus Market Forces. Twenty Years On…" The discussion, which I will moderate on Sept. 9, will include figures from the worlds of politics and culture: Magda Vasaryova, Prof. Jerzy Hausner and Dr. Erhard Busek. We will try to define how political and economic changes and development have influenced culture. We will cover important questions: Has the world of culture managed to keep up with the pace of transformation after 1989? How can the potential of culture be utilized in development? What is the government's responsibility toward culture?

What events, exhibitions, conferences and research projects have you planned for the near future?
Every three years in September, Cracow becomes a hub of graphic art, and the ICC traditionally joins in this festival called the International Print Triennial by holding two exhibitions. Apart from works by Ingrid Ledent, winner of the Grand Prix in 2006, we will present works by Konrad Srzednicki, a professor of Cracow's Academy of Fine Arts. At the same time, in association with the Riksantikvaren Directorate for Cultural Heritage [in Norway], we are starting a long-term project called Management of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland and Norway.

Ma³opolska is home to the greatest number of Polish World Heritage Sites and this is where you can best see how important heritage is for a region's development, including its economy. On the other hand, you can see the threats caused to heritage by rapid economic development. Seeking harmony between heritage and development is the essence of the ICC's mission.
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