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August 30, 2019

Welcome to ICOM Kyoto 2019!

Dear colleagues of the international museum community,

It is with great pleasure and excitement that the members of the ICOM Executive Board and I welcome you to the 25th ICOM General Conference, to be held from 1st to
7th September, 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. I believe this will be an exceptional experience for all of us, not only because of the multitude of topical discussions and events taking place, but also because of the opportunity to closely encounter a remarkably rich cultural heritage.

The theme of the ICOM General Conference 2019 is Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition. The topic is itself a statement about the central role museums have come to play in the future of our diverse societies. While sustaining their primary missions – collecting, conservation, communication, research, exhibition – they have transformed their practices in the pursuit of relevance for the communities they serve. They are now more aware than ever of the power they have to establish dialogue between cultures, to build bridges for a peaceful world and to define a sustainable future.

The week-long ICOM General Conferences are the high points in the life of our organisation, with plenaries and workshops, committee meetings and board elections, as well as unique opportunities for our members and participants to meet and network. ICOM Kyoto 2019 is special in this respect – it will reach out to a substantially bigger membership, which currently gathers over 44,500 museum professionals representing 138 countries and territories. The location of this General
Conference, the city of Kyoto, will also attract a greater number of participants from the Asia-Pacific region,
enriching the wide variety of converging perspectives.

Another distinctive feature of ICOM Kyoto 2019 is the diversity and topicality of the subjects that will be tackled in the various sessions. They make this triennial the forum it aims to be. The impact of the complexities of the 21st century on societies and museums will be debated among museum professionals from a vast range of cultural spheres and expertise, informing the discussions and debating possible solutions about sustainable development, disaster resilience, decolonisation, or the revision of the museum definition.

There is certainly much more than this to see, to taste, to discover in Kyoto. What better cultural hub than this millenary city to discuss the future of tradition? During this conference, you will enjoy many opportunities to explore Kyoto and its surrounding areas. I encourage you to wander around its narrow streets and mingle among its peoples with curiosity and wonder.

It is a pleasure and an honour for me to welcome you, together with our Japanese hosts, to this major ICOM event. It is only with your participation and contributions that the ICOM General Conference 2019 can be the hub where creativity combines with knowledge and intercultural dialogue enhances mutual understanding and peace building.

ICOM Kyoto 2019, I am confident, will yet be another unforgettable reunion which we will cherish in our memories for many years to come.

President of ICOM