39th Session of the World Heritage Committee
July 5, 2015 – Bonn, Germany
Remarks from U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, Amb. Crystal Nix-Hines,Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor.
“Merci, Madame la présidente. C’est un plaisir d’être ici pour la première fois.
We are honored to receive this inscription, and thank ICOMOS and the World Heritage Committee, as well as our German hosts.
When I visited the San Antonio Missions, I was struck by their intricate craftsmanship combining Spanish and Native American architecture.
But what really stood out was how these communities not only merged architectural styles but integrated diverse cultures, languages, and traditions as well. As one indigenous woman, María de Luz, said in a recent documentary: “I find myself drawn to the Missions by something I can’t quite explain. These were my people. The Pajalache. [pa-ha-LA-chay] The Aranama. [AH-ra-na-ma] The Tamique. [ta-MEE-kay] They put these stones in place…Their hands dug these aqueducts, built these walls. These were my people. The People of the Missions.”
Thank you for allowing us to share this rich history with the world.
I now pass the microphone to Judge Nelson Wolff, who was instrumental in this wonderful nomination together.”
– Amb. Crystal Nix-Hines
“On behalf of the citizens of Bexar County, Texas, I want to thank you for this great honor. Bexar County provided funding to restore the ecosystem of the San Antonio River and the farm fields of Mission San Juan and create portals to each of the Missions to enhance their connection to the river. We take great pride in the Missions and surrounding areas and are committed to their continued protection. Thank you again. I would now like to introduce the Mayor of San Antonio, Ivy Taylor.”
– Judge Nelson Wolff
“On behalf of the City of San Antonio, we are very honored to become a part of the UNESCO family of World Heritage Sites. As we join this noble circle, we recognize the dedication and hard work of the many organizations and individuals who worked tirelessly on this nomination. We reaffirm our commitment as a community to protect the Missions’ outstanding universal value. Through this inscription, we welcome the world to San Antonio to experience the richness of the Spanish Colonial Missions, as well as our vibrant, colorful, cultural city.”
– Mayor Ivy Taylor