The Headquarters of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) commenced on Thursday, October 14, 2021, the launch of ICESCO International Think Tank for Thought, Letters and Arts, under the theme, “Culture for Rethinking the World,” with high-caliber participation of number ministers, intellectuals, university presidents, professors and specialists in the fields of culture and arts.
The launch of the Think Tank is part of the year-long ICESCO International Open Days, which will be hosted by several universities, research centers, and cultural institutions in several countries.
Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), gave the opening address to the launching ceremony wherein he stated that the Think Tank is open to prominent scholars, researchers, intellectuals, and creators across the globe, as it is a platform that embraces cultural and human sciences as the backbone of its approach to understanding the unfolding political, educational, social and economic phenomena.
The DG stressed the need to adopt integrated cultural policies in the Islamic world countries that are based on a digital cultural economy and invest in AI. He added that ICESCO adopts many innovative international art and science projects for 2021 in the fields of letters and publishing, in addition to its program to preserve and promote heritage, inscribe cultural sites, promote cultural diplomacy, rights and governance, foster cultural civil society, and develop the Islamic World Cultural Capitals.
In her virtual address, Dr. Inas Abdel Dayem, Minister of Culture of Egypt, highlighted the role of culture in human growth, supporting the values of tolerance, love, and dialogue, and rejecting hate and discrimination. She stressed the importance of promoting cultural heritage with a view of achieving sustainable development goals, adding that the Arab Republic of Egypt prides itself on its diverse cultural heritage. As for Sheikha Mai Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, she stated that culture keeps the world connected, describing culture as a means to address challenges, promote societies, anchor tolerance, and support development in the quest of achieving prosperity.
In his address, Mr. Mohamed Damir, Vice President of Ibn Tofail University in Morocco, hailed the launch of the Think Tank given that culture is a lever of bringing peoples and nations together. He also commended ICESCO’s support for the universities of the Islamic world and the trust it places in Ibn Tofail University to create the ICESCO Chair for Comparative Letters and Arts. For her part, Dr. Youma Fall, Minister Advisor to the President of Senegal, underscored the need to create cultural relations to promote the values of coexistence, openness to others, and respect cultural diversity among peoples through building bridges of dialogue.
Dr. Mohamed Zinealabidine, Head of ICESCO Culture and Communication Sector, gave a presentation on “ICESCO Roads towards the Future Program,” noting that ICESCO’s Think Tank embodies the Organization’s desire to spread culture and art-based dialogue and communication in the hope for building a better world.
Following the opening session, the Culture and Communication team at ICESCO gave presentations in the first academic session on “ICESCO’s Network of International Digital Platforms of Culture, Arts and Heritage, “Creative ICESCO.” The second academic session saw the participation of several professors who discussed the importance of ICESCO’s Thought, Letters and Arts Chairs Program in some prominent universities in the Islamic world.
The academic sessions featured audience questions, discussions and proposals relating to ICESCO’s cultural vision.