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Even a Federal President is not allowed to inaugurate a school for girls every day. Many thanks for the friendly and warm welcome! These thanks also go to the citizens of the village of Burin. I was enthusiastic about this friendly welcome!
In general, I am thrilled to be with you today and with you, ladies and gentlemen. Already the journey here, the olive trees and the beautiful landscape impressed me. But what I am most happy about is this joint project - one of over 80 schools that have been built or rebuilt with German support.
A German saying goes: “All good things come in threes.” I have found exactly three good reasons to celebrate this opening with you and with you today.
First of all because the Burin Girls' School, like every school, stands for a human right: the right to education! Education means discovering and developing talent. Education enables us to get to know our own country and the world. Education helps us grow up. When we learn, it makes us self-confident and independent people. Anyone who has learned something wants to have a say - and most of the time they do it too! That is what a future Palestinian state will be dependent on - just as Germany and every free-democratic society in the world is dependent on responsible citizens who can take responsibility.
The purpose of education goes even further: it also helps us to question things, to understand other points of view and to resolve conflicts amicably. These are important prerequisites for peaceful coexistence - in one's own country and with other peoples.
You don't really have to tell the people in the Palestinian Territories: The literacy rate here is higher than anywhere else in the Middle East. But I'm telling you anyway because I want to make it clear to you: I admire you for the strength that you have put into education in your country. I would like to convey my deeply felt respect to all of you, the students, the parents, the teachers and the authorities: I am impressed by how much you as a private person, as a society and as a political community support access to good education - especially under the difficult conditions in which you live and of which we are well aware.
The second good reason for this girls' school: It stands for a very big, global goal: equal rights and equal opportunities for all girls! Right from the start, you, the adults, want to encourage the children in their development. Smart and strong girls will one day be smart and strong women! We are happy to be able to support you in this.
And now I come to the third reason for my joy: You are, dear students, because in a few years you will be leaving here with your diplomas! You have high hopes for building a democratic state in Palestine! Over 40 percent of the Palestinian population is under 15 years of age. You are the future of your country!
This is now your very own school. It is wonderful to see that you finally have enough rooms, that you have space to study, a nice atmosphere. But don't forget: You find the most important place to learn in yourself - in your brain and heart. The physicist Albert Einstein once said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge, because knowledge is limited!" Imagination allows us to grasp the large space of knowledge. This is the largest square of all, open to all people, to all peoples and nations. You still have time to discover the special place. But open to other people, you can already be and learn that here and today.
This school also belongs to you, to all women and men here in Burin: the teachers, the parents, every citizen. I hope that this new property will become a precious treasure for your community and for a good future!
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