With the high-caliber participation of Culture Ministers of several African countries, representatives of specialized international and African organizations, and experts and students from more than 30 universities and research centers, ICESCO International Conference on Cultural Heritage Preservation, Protection and Promotion of Cultural Heritage in the Context of Insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin Region, kicked off on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) is holding the Conference in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Foundation, both face-to-face at its headquarters and via videoconference, in observance of the Islamic World Heritage Day.
Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG) gave the opening remark to the three-day event, wherein he noted that the celebration of the Islamic World Heritage Day and the Islamic World Museum Week bears witness to ICESCO’s determination to preserve and develop cultural heritage in the Islamic World, to achieve comprehensive development in the Member States. ICESCO DG mentioned the major progress scored in the process of inscribing cultural heritage on the Islamic World Heritage List, noting that ICESCO is planning to hold several training sessions for the benefit of African professionals in charge of preparing inscription files.
Dr. AlMalik stated that through its “Cultural Strategy for Africa,” issued in May 2021, the Organization has set its priorities in Africa for the next five years through a variety of activities. These include, the DG stated, ICESCO’s participation in African cultural and art festivals, promoting cultural rights, supporting women and the youth’s active participation in cultural projects, training and assisting the Member States in their efforts to safeguard heritage, and developing cultural and creative industries.
At the close of his address, the Director-General called for concerted efforts to overcome the challenges facing the cultural heritage of the Lake Chad Basin in light of the insecurity prevailing in the region.
Following the opening session, the Ministerial session ensued with an address by Dr. Bidoung Mkpatt Ismail, Minister of Arts and Culture of the Republic of Cameroon, who presented Cameroon’s experience in the field of promoting cultural heritage, commending ICESCO’s efforts to preserve cultural diversity in Africa. For her part, Ms. Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, African Union, stated that the Union’s activities seek to develop the policies of the sector of cultural heritage, issue laws to safeguard its elements, and build African capacities in heritage management. Also addressing the panel was Ms. Achta Djibrine Sy, Minister of Culture and Promotion of Diversity of the Republic of Chad, who talked about the various initiatives and programs that the Republic of Chad launched. She added that such initiatives reflect Chad’s commitment to promoting cultural heritage, calling on the participants to work together to find solutions to the challenges facing African heritage.
During the first day of the Conference, participants exchanged ideas and expertise in the field of African cultural heritage and discussed ways to safeguard such heritage in light of the insecurity the region witnesses, and encouraged the inscription of cultural elements on the Islamic World Heritage List.