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    AlMalik: if we fail to anticipate the future, we will be chained in the dungeons of the past

    17 February 2020

    The Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, stated that the Organization has taken upon itself, as part of its new vision, to make of future building one of its pillars. To this end, Dr. AlMalik added, it established the Center for Strategic Foresight to develop its action mechanisms, upgrade its executive plans, provide the necessary expertise and support to competent authorities in the Islamic world and step up their performance to keep pace with future challenges.

    In his address at the opening session of ICESCO Future Forum which kicked off at ICESCO headquarters today, ICESCO Director General highlighted that the Organization committed itself to entrenching foresight thought in the youth through holding training sessions and providing school or training grants, in coordination with international foresight centers.

    Moreover, Dr. AlMalik revealed that ICESCO initiated preparations for a very important conference in June on the theme “Tomorrow’s Professions”, while pointing out that foresight is a novel field ICESCO intends, as part of its new vision, to further explore and an industry of strategic thought whose findings will contribute to building a brighter future for the Islamic world.

    “If we fail to anticipate the future now, we will chain ourselves in the dungeons of the past and dash our hopes for joining the ranks of developed countries. These countries owe their progress to the findings of anticipatory studies of present and future changes in all the fields of development”, Dr. AlMalik warned. He added that these countries used these findings to develop their strategies based on sound forward-looking thought away from random predictions that are not scientifically founded.

    In another vein, ICESCO Director General said foresight is the best way to preserve and consolidate human gains, as specialized studies have proved that in order for peoples to progress and civilization to flourish they need to consider and reflect on their future based on a scientific approach, through the analysis of data and past and present gains to predict their medium and long-term prospects.

    “Foresight does not at all mean waiting for change to happen in order to interact with its consequences. It rather entails monitoring and interacting effectively and proactively to effect the desired change. Looking back on the experiences of leading nations in today’s world, we realize that their civilizational resurgence was made possible thanks to their solid foundations of foresight thought, which proved to be the most efficient way to address future challenges and measure their compatibility or incompatibility with the available capacities”. He added that such thought allows for investing and adapting the said capacities with the current situation, or monitoring them to prevent any negative impact on the future of individuals and societies.

    In this vein, ICESCO Director General provided examples of the results of this strategic foresight approach achieved at world level, namely the practical proposals to address the challenge of climate change risks and curb global warming. These include reducing CO2 emissions to around 45% by 2030 and to “net zero” by 2050; and monitoring the rise of sea level. He added that the same approach to the challenges posed by digital transition and smart technologies in the economic and business fields in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution reaffirms that 64% of global corporations are aware that their employees lack the necessary skills for digital transition but only 16% of these companies have action plans to address the issue.

    At the close of his address, ICESCO Director General expressed his thanks and appreciation to all the attending officials and experts and to Konrad Adenauer Foundation for their support in the preparation for the first edition of the conference.

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