The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) held in Fez, Morocco, the edition of ICESCO International Open Days, in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Network of ICESCO International Chairs for Thought, Letters and Arts. The second edition features a series of lectures in observance of the International Day of Islamic Art, an annual celebration on 18 November, which was adopted by UNESCO upon the proposal of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, ICESCO Deputy Director-General (DG), opened the lecture series, held at the headquarters of the Euro-Mediterranean University on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, and addressed the sense of loss and anxiety about the future, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the suspension of cultural activities further exacerbated the pandemic’s impact and brought to light the major role of culture in regaining trust and helping face the challenges of the future.
Dr. Mohamed Zinelabidine, Head of ICESCO’s Culture and Communication Sector, gave a lecture in which he highlighted the role of young people in expressing the value of culture in the Islamic world to publicize its specificities at the international level, develop minds, sciences and creativity. He stated that the aim is to move from the consumer status to that of active contributors to the advancement of thought and employment of modern technology to make culture a true lever of human development.
Taking the floor next was Dr. Omar Halli, Advisor to ICESCO DG for the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World (FUIW), who stressed the need to promote the presence of culture in societies, stating that promoting culture among university students is a means to reforming and developing higher education training.
In his address, Dr. Abderrahman Tankoul, Supervisor of ICESCO Chair for Arts, Sciences and Civilizations at the Euro-Mediterranean University, talked about the fruitful cooperation between ICESCO and the University through the Chair he supervises, which plays a role in understanding social change through arts, culture and sciences. As for Dr. Mostapha Bousmina, President of the Euro-Mediterranean University, he underlined the necessity of opening higher education training to culture and arts to train a generation of intellectuals, reaffirming the importance of cultural diversity in building a prosperous society.
At the close of the lecture series, the university’s students and professors asked many questions on the issues addressed in the lectures to which the lecturers provided detailed answers.
ICESCO International Open Days are part of the activities of the ICESCO Roads for the Future, a year-long event to be held in the universities, research centers and cultural institutions of several countries. ICESCO Roads for the Future kicked off on 14 October 2021 under the theme “Culture for Rethinking the World.”