For the second year, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) is celebrating the Islamic World Heritage Day, an occasion it hopes to become an annual celebration of peoples’ memories and a call to pay due attention to human heritage in general.
The occasion came to existence following the proposal that ICESCO submitted to the 11th Conference of Culture Ministers in the Islamic World, held in Tunis, on December 17, 2019, to proclaim December 25 as the Islamic World Heritage Day. This day is an opportunity to highlight the abundance and diversity of cultural heritage in the countries of the Islamic World and underline the serious efforts exerted to preserve, safeguard, and promote this heritage.
ICESCO reiterates the great interest it accords to preserving human cultural heritage, raising awareness of its significance and roles, and warning against the dangers of its destruction, especially during conflicts. The Organization also recalls the support it has provided for its Member States to build their capacities to better publicize, restore and rehabilitate such heritage by launching several initiatives and issuing numerous declarations that all stress the need to call on public sectors, international and regional organizations, and civil society bodies to work closely together to safeguard cultural heritage in the Islamic world. In this regard, the Islamic World Heritage Committee (IWHC) sustained its efforts to inscribe new heritage sites and elements to develop and promote the historical and civilizational heritage of the Islamic world.
In line with its new strategy which adopts a more comprehensive and realistic vision towards preserving the heritage of the Islamic world, ICESCO, through its Islamic World Heritage, launched several programs and virtual activities in the fields of heritage preservation. These included distance training sessions for professionals working in the various fields of heritage in the Islamic world, in addition to virtual symposia that brought together a host of heritage experts and officials from the Member States and beyond, as well as international organizations active in heritage fields. All these activities share the key goal of discussing heritage issues and shedding light on the negative impact of these unprecedented emergency circumstances on heritage, in a time when almost all heritage sites and museums are still closed.
In the hope that the world crisis caused by the pandemic is over soon, ICESCO calls on regional and international organizations, government institutions, and heritage competent parties to exert more efforts to give due attention to tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It also urges them to continue assuming their roles in publicizing and preserving this heritage and allocate virtual presentation mechanisms and capitalize on AI technology and applications to safeguard and highlight the diversity and abundance of such heritage. Likewise, the Organization calls for taking the necessary measures for a safe reopening of heritage sites and historic landmarks and working towards raising people’s awareness of the significance of preserving this heritage.