The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) took part in the Workshop on “Towards a new vision for cultural heritage management,” that the Moroccan Economic, Social and Environmental Council held yesterday, May 6, 2021, to explore the role of international organizations in preserving and promoting heritage.
Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, Cultural Advisor to ICESCO Director-General, along with Dr. Osama Al-Nahas, Heritage Expert at the Culture and Communication Sector, represented the Organization during the workshop. Dr. Benarafa delivered an address wherein he reviewed ICESCO’s efforts in preserving heritage in the Islamic world, including the establishment of the Islamic World Heritage Committee, the Committee of Archaeological Experts in Charge of Monitoring the Israeli Excavations in the Vicinity of Al Aqsa Mosque, the Heritage Observatory, and the Heritage Projects Support Fund.
ICESCO also launched a new strategic vision for heritage management in the Islamic world, which pays increasing attention to all forms of heritage, through the establishment of its Heritage Center, which is entrusted with preserving, rehabilitating, and promoting heritage and training the people working in all disciplines and branches of heritage.
Dr. Benarafa reviewed the efforts of ICESCO in the fields of heritage during the COVID-19 pandemic. “ICESCO has been among the first international organizations to launch and implement numerous distance initiatives, programmes and training courses, most notably ICESCO Digital Home and the virtual visits to the museums and heritage sites in the Member States,” he underscored.
Regarding ICESCO’s efforts in preserving and promoting the Moroccan cultural heritage, Dr. Benarafa indicated that the Organization fulfills an important supporting role to the relevant efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco. “The Organization has inscribed 21 sites and elements of the Moroccan cultural and natural heritage on the Tentative and Final Islamic World Heritage Lists,” he added.
ICESCO also provides technical and material support to Morocco for restoring and establishing several museums and heritage projects, including the project of the first museum of intangible heritage, in Marrakesh, as well as the project of “Nuzhati: nature and culture,” in cooperation with Agdal District.
In conclusion, Dr. Benarafa reaffirmed that ICESCO is exerting every effort to support Morocco in preserving and promoting its cultural heritage.