**ICESCO Director-General: there is a need to pay attention to the sector of culture to preserve the mental health and social relations
Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), called upon countries to pay strong attention to the sector of culture, which has been strongly affected during Covid-19 crisis due to the closure of 95% of heritage sites and cultural institutions all around the globe.
This was an excerpt from Dr. AlMalik’s address at the opening session of the International Scientific Conference, held today via videoconferencing by the Center of Islamic Civilization in Uzbekistan, in partnership with ICESCO, under the theme “Role and contributions of Bukhara to the Islamic civilization,” as part of the Celebration of Bukhara as the Asian region’s Capital of Islamic Culture for 2020.
In the same vein, Dr. AlMalik stated that there is now a need to pay attention to the sector of culture, given its impact on mental health and social balances and relations. “As part of ICESCO’s new vision, considering the new future challenges facing us during and after crises, ICESCO prepared the Strategic Digital and Cultural Project, the outline of which will be announced during the Virtual Extraordinary Conference of Culture Ministers of ICESCO Member States, due to be held on 17 June 2020,” he added.
Furthermore, ICESCO Director-General praised the city of Bukhara, which is one of the major centers of Islamic civilization thanks to the contributions of its people over centuries since the arrival of Islam to this region as early as 46 A.H., while stressing ICESCO’s willingness to cooperate with Uzbekistan, which has, in addition to Bukhara, several major Islamic cities with glorious history such as Tashkent and Samarkand, and collaborates with its competent authorities, amid the current exceptional circumstances, on many items, including:
•Establishment of ICESCO Regional Center of Manuscripts at Imam Al-Bukhari International Research Centre (IBIRC), in coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the Center of Islamic Civilization in Uzbekistan;
•Establishment of Imam Al-Bukhari Chair for University Studies at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, in Fes, Kingdom of Morocco, under ICESCO’s auspices;
•Inscribing 50 heritage sites and natural and industrial heritage elements in Bukhara and Uzbekistan on the Islamic World Heritage List;
•Preparation of standard files of some serial heritage sites and aspects in the countries concerned, including Uzbekistan and the Transoxiana, to be inscribed on the Islamic World Heritage List (Hajj route, caravan route);
•Publishing a book on the scholars of Bukhara in particular and Uzbekistan in general, and their civilizational contributions (in Arabic, Russian and Uzbek);
•Awarding ICESCO Prize for the best cultural project in Bukhara;
In closing, Dr. AlMalik thanked the competent authorities in the Republic of Uzbekistan for meeting the challenge of organizing the activities scheduled as part of Bukhara as the Capital of Islamic Culture despite the current exceptional circumstances. He also called upon concerned institutions in other Capitals of Islamic Culture to launch innovative initiatives to celebrate these capitals and overcome challenges.
The ICESCO Director-General wishes every success to the celebration of Bukhara as the Asian region’s Capital of Islamic Culture for 2020 as it serves sustainable development, well-being, and progress in Uzbekistan, and all the Islamic countries.