Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and Mr. Miguel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), explored ways to promote cooperation between the two Organizations to strengthen coexistence and dialogue between cultures, in light of the great changes and challenges facing the world today.
At the outset of the meeting, which took place today, Friday, at ICESCO headquarters in Rabat, Dr. AlMalik welcomed Mr. Moratinos and his delegation, stressing that ICESCO’s new vision adopts openness, cooperation and effective partnerships with all entities in its areas of competence, namely education, science and culture, as it seeks to serve Muslims in its 54 Member States and Muslim communities in non-Member States as well.
Moreover, ICESCO Director General explained that in order to widen the scope of cooperation with non-Member States, the Organization is establishing contact with many of them regarding becoming Observer States in the Organization. He added that one of the manifestations of ICESCO’s openness was the “Forum Future”, which it organized in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation at its headquarters on 17-18 February. The Forum brought together more than 30 experts working at international organizations such as UNESCO and other eminent bodies, specializing in strategic foresight and artificial intelligence and coming from different countries, some of which are not ICESCO Member States.
For his part, Mr. Moratinos thanked ICESCO Director General for his warm welcome, praising ICESCO’s important role in its areas of competence, and stressing that it is one of the organizations that the Alliance of Civilizations would cooperate and work with in many fields, especially those related to the dialogue between cultures, which is becoming ever more important and complex. He added that at a time when there is ongoing talks about the need to protect the environment and save the planet from global warming, there is also a need to preserve our humanity, learn about coexistence and mutual respect, and understand the existence of different religions, cultures and civilizations.
Mr. Moratinos called on ICESCO to cooperate and participate in the Ninth Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, to be held on 29 November- 01 December 2020, in Fez, Kingdom of Morocco, stating that it is the first the Forum is held in Africa. He added that this session marks the 15th anniversary of the UNAOC, which started as an initiative by the UN Secretary General, maintaining that the session will assess the work of the UNAOC since its inception and devise a plan of action to save humanity.
ICESCO Director General reaffirmed the Organization’s readiness to cooperate and support this major event, as it relates to its areas of competence, maintaining that the Organization has a Division of Dialogue and Cultural Diversity affiliated with the Cultural sector.
A number of ICESCO officials talked about key ICESCO activities scheduled for the upcoming period, including the First Meeting of the First Ladies of ICESCO African Member States, to be held end of next March, in Niamey, capital of Niger, in cooperation between ICESCO, the Nigerien Government and the First Lady of Niger, Dr. Lalla Malika Issoufou. This meeting will be dedicated to discussing issues of community development in Africa, empowering women, combating illiteracy, and facing violence against girls.