I am looking forward to welcoming you to Sydney, on behalf of the Organising Committee, on the occasion of the 20th International Congress for the Historic Monuments (CISH). It will be a privilege for us to host so many distinguished scholars from many backgrounds on such an important occasion.
The Sydney Congress is a very significant one for CISH. This is the first time that the quinquennial congress is to be held outside the northern hemisphere, and only the third time in a century that it is to convene outside its European bases. This signals the desire of the membership to make CISH a more genuinely global organisation of historians. Only by internationalising itself can CISH remain relevant to the historians of our future world.
The architecture of the Congress runs along familiar lines: alongside three major themes which each take up a full day's proceedings, there are 26 specialised sessions and 20 round tables. Many of CISH's International Affiliated Societies and Internal Commissions will meet during the Congress, and this time they will include your host, the Australian Historical Association.
CISH has set aside some funds to assist participants from the poorer countries of the world to attend, and we are especially keen to encourage the participation of younger scholars. There is therefore a reduced registration fee for bonafide graduate students, and poster sessions where they can present new work.
Sydney is a lively metropolitan centre of about 3.75 million. Steeped in a rich indigenous culture and history, we have become a magnet for immigrants from every corner of our planet. It is one of the world?s most spectacular water cities and, as the Olympic City of 2000, it has all the facilities and experience required to host large international events. Sydney has plenty to offer, and I know you are going to enjoy your visit.
Your venue is my own university campus at the University of New South Wales, one of five universities in the Sydney metropolitan area. UNSW is close to the eastern beaches and the airport, and is one of Australia's leading teaching and research institutions. Together with all historians in Australia, I am hoping to meet as many of you as possible here during our exciting week of discussion and debate in July.