Official Launch of ICESCO Year of Women with High-Level International Participation
12 March 2021
The Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) announced officially in a major international celebration, the launch of ICESCO 2021 Year of the Women, under the theme “Women For the Future” and under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
The celebration saw high-level participation of first ladies, princesses, ministers, women leaderships from the United Nations and other international organizations, several Moroccan male and female ministers, and public figures.
The opening session of the celebration kicked-off with a recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, a welcoming address to the participants, and a musical performance of a poem that ICESCO produced dedicated to all women around the world in appreciation of their pioneering roles in all fields.
Ms. Intissar El-Sisi, the spouse of the Egyptian President, delivered an address wherein she stated that the celebration comes in a culmination of women’s active contribution over the past decades in all political, cultural, and socioeconomic fields and participation in building civilization since its inception.
She also reviewed the efforts of the Egyptian government in the field of supporting women and gender equality in recent years. Ms. El-Sisi closed her address by reaffirming Egypt’s constant willingness to cooperate with ICESCO to ensure the success of joint Islamic action in supporting women.
Addressing the participants, Dr. Mariem Mint Dah, First Lady of Mauritania, noted that women are a source of inspiration and innovation, either on the cultural, scientific, or social level and that women’s education constitutes powerful leverage for socioeconomic development.
Dr. Mariem Mint Dah also appreciated the important role women played during the COVID-19 pandemic to counter its negative repercussions at all levels. She also indicated that the road of women towards the future is not without obstacles while stressing that the sought-after forward-looking vision must start with women in all their facets, capabilities, talents, and sources of inspiration.
In her address, Ms. Rula Ghani, First Lady of Afghanistan, praised the achievements of Afghan women in all fields and stressed the need to stand with women, encourage them to persevere, and strive to ensure they enjoy their right to healthcare and education.
Dr. Madeeha bint Ahmed al Shibaniyah, Minister of Education, readout the address of the Sultanate of Oman, upon the high instructions of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, Sultan of Oman, may Allah preserve him. The address stated that ICESCO’s choice of “Women and the Future” as a theme for the Year of Women 2021 mirrors the appreciation and pride of ICESCO of women’s role in society, confirmed by its tremendous efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic in the fields of education, health and social care.
The Sultanate of Oman’s address also reaffirmed the great confidence in ICESCO’s ability to draw a clear roadmap of women leaders to future generations in all areas to meet sustainable development requirements.
In her address, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, expressed the need for women to assume leadership positions. She also stressed that women empowerment is key for building a brighter future for individuals and communities. She lauded the efforts of the United Nations aiming to encourage women to showcase their capacities and talents.
In his speech at the celebration’s opening ceremony, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), expressed his deep thanks and gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his high patronage of ICESCO’s Year of Women 2021 and welcomed the participants at the headquarters as well as those who attended by videoconference.
Dr. AlMalik explained that the choice of 2021 to serve as a year of women was not fortuitous but emanates from a desire to reward the merit of women and recognize the pioneering roles they played and still play before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, while stressing the Organization’s keenness to accord women their rights, appreciate their status and highlight their societal role and contribution to the future building.
The DG emphasized that ICESCO welcomes all cooperation initiatives with bodies and institutions in the Member States and with international organizations to enhance the pioneering role of women. He announced a package of initiatives, projects and programmes the Organization intends to implement throughout 2021, namely the establishment of a specialized international platform that includes the most prominent influential and inspiring female figures; the launch of a training programme to prepare 1000 young women leaders; cooperation programmes with the Member States to support them to raise international indicators for women in line with their national policies; and the support for orientations likely to achieve UN sustainable development goals.
At the close of the opening session, the “Light of the Future” was launched as a symbol that marks the start of a new year with new hope: the Year of ICESCO for Women 2021.
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