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    Extraordinary Virtual Conference of Culture Ministers of ICESCO Member States to explore culture future next Wednesday

    16 June 2020

    The Extraordinary Virtual Conference of Culture Ministers of ICESCO Member States will explore a wide range of topics and issues. Due to be held by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) on 17 June 2020, the Conference will discuss the future of digital culture, tourism culture, the relationship between sports and culture, the challenges to sustainable cultural action in the face of crises (COVID-19) and the inscription of historic sites on the Islamic World Heritage List (IWHL).

    The Conference will bring together a broad audience of culture and heritage ministers of several Member States. They confirmed their participation, given the immediate impact of the issues under discussion on cultural action and sustainable development. The Conference will also feature many regional and international organizations operating in the field of culture, tourism and sports, namely the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

    The Conference will kick off at 09.00 (GMT), 10.00 (Rabat local time), under the presidency of the State of the United Arab Emirates. The opening session will feature the addresses of Ms. Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development of the United Arab Emirates, President of the Conference; Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC); and Mr.

    Ernesto Ottone Ramírez, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture, on behalf of UNESCO Director-General. Following the address by Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, an introductory video about the “Distance Culture” initiative, which forms part of “ICESCO Digital Home.” It will be presented to announce the Organization’s contributions and awards, which enriched the culture sector during the COVID-19 crisis and supported the efforts of the international community in addressing its ensuing repercussions on the educational, scientific and cultural fields.

    At the session dedicated to keynote speakers, Mr. Webber Ndoro, Director General of the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), will discuss the importance of preserving and maintaining heritage sites during crises. At the same time, Dr. Taleb Rifai, former Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), will explore the new trends in cultural tourism and their importance in achieving sustainable development. Moreover, a video will be displayed on the Portal for Heritage Protection, which ICESCO launched to inscribe, manage and preserve sites inscribed on the Islamic World Heritage List (IWHL).

    So far, ICESCO has inscribed 140 sites and will continue inscribing heritage and historical sites in the Islamic world, in cooperation with the Member States following strict criteria.

    At the first session dedicated to “Cultural challenges in times of crises (COVID- 19)”, the floor will be given to several ministers in the Member States. Speaking at the second session, “Culture in post-Covid-19 period” are the representatives of ICESCO and many ministers from the Member States.
    The third session will cover the issue of “New Trends in Cultural Tourism,” which receives great attention from ICESCO as cultural tourism is one of the primary sources of national income of many Member States.

    At the fourth session on “ICESCO Digital Cultural Strategic Project,” the Organization’s representative will review the main aspects of the project, which lies at the core of ICESCO’s interests, to anticipate the future and meet its requirements in education, culture, and science.

    The Conference will close with an open forum where Member States’ Ministers of Culture and the heads of regional and international organizations will give presentations. At the closing session, the participants will adopt the conference declaration, and Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, will deliver the closing address.

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