UIS: the speech of the president of JZS
(Foto: Peter Gedei)
Dear speleologists, dear friends of the karstic world, dear guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honour and privilege to cordially greet you on behalf of the Speleological Association of Slovenia on the occasion of such an important event as is the fiftieth anniversary of the International Union of Speleology, with its headquarters right here in Postojna.
I am pleased to ascertain that speleology has risen to an enviable level within the last decades. From those simple beginnings of individual enthusiasts that have been always looked upon as some kind of freaks to highly qualified experts who devoted their lives to karstology. I would like to specially stress the contribution of all amateur speleologists who consecrated countless hours, days and years to cave exploration and thus contributed to the development and expansion of speleology to today's level.
The history of the International union of speleology goes back to 1965 and since then it experienced numerous rises and falls as it operated with no headquarters and even no bank account. The situation much improved in 2002 when the then leadership of the UIS decided the headquarters of the association to be in Slovenia. By the substantial assistance of the Karst Research Institute and professor Andrej Mihevc and his co-workers the organization finally acquired the status of an officially registered organization.
Slovenia was chosen due to its exceptionally rich karstological history and rich natural conditions that make ceaseless work and development of karstology possible.
The Slovenian speleological community may praise itself with numerous speleological achievements in the professional as well as amateur fields. There are many achievements of the Slovenian speleologists that by no doubt range within the world top accomplishments.
As the representative of the Speleological Association of Slovenia allow me to thank and commend all the active and former speleologists, men and women, who have, within numerous associations and groups explored and documented caves for decades. The most important result of their dedicated work is the Cave Registry of the Speleological Association of Slovenia that at present contains more than 11.000 (eleven thousand) documented and registered caves. With regard to the size of Slovenia this number is exceptional and it increases from year to year.
According to my knowledge the organization of our registry is unique in the world. The Cave Registry as we have in Slovenia is of great importance for all those who do and will in the future take interest and work in cave exploration. It is impossible to assess the value of all the data that are on our disposal, so the right thing to do is to continue and upgrade the work of former generations.
It is nice to see such a great number of people joined in the same passion for discovering and exploring the unknown and to most of people inaccessible world. The meetings like this one prove that we can successfully collaborate regardless of nationality and country we come from and follow the same goals. Unfortunately, we experience less and less of those qualities in our everyday lives, so we should keep encouraging such events and strengthen our mutual bonds.
At the end, allow me to cordially thank all the organizers of this event, especially the Karst Research Institute, the leadership of Postojna Cave and the leadership of the International Union of Speleology as well as all those who contributed to the organization of this meeting.