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    In presence and under patronage of President El-Sisi, ICESCO General Conference and Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research kick off in Cairo

    8 December 2021

    H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, opened today, Wednesday 8 December 2021, the General Conference of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and the Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research, both hosted by Egypt under his high patronage.

    The opening ceremony brought together high caliber personalities including ministers of education, culture and scientific research as well as the delegations of ICESCO Member States.

      In his opening remarks,  Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, President of the Egyptian National Commission for Education, Science and Culture, stated that Egypt’s hosting of these two major events reflects the Republic’s keenness and commitment to share expertise and knowledge, in the spirit of honoring the principle of joint action and promoting cooperation and coordination among international and regional institutions and organizations sharing the same competences. The Minister added that Egypt is dedicated to investing in education, science and culture and keeping up with economic change, building competitive capacities in the labor market, and promoting the skills of the jobs of the future, in light of the continuous digital changes the world is undergoing.  

    In addition, Dr. Abdel Ghaffar highlighted the technological revolutions the world is witnessing, particularly the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which capitalizes on digital knowledge, AI applications, robotics, and the Fifth Revolution, which invests in autonomous intelligence and use of modern technology to address pressing issues such as pollution, global warming, desertification, in total harmony between the human and the machine and in service of development goals. 

    In his address, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), thanked the Arab Republic of Egypt for hosting the 42nd Session of the Executive Council, expressing his gratitude to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for his high patronage of these two major events. The DG also commended the progress scored by the field of higher education in Egypt and the modernization efforts to upgrade its institutions in quest to achieve Vision 2030 Goals and keep up with global digital transformations.

    The DG noted that universities play a pivotal role as they are innovation incubators, contemporary knowledge, creativity, and production platforms, stressing the need to anticipate the future by focusing on its requirements and scenarios, investing in the sciences of the future, according due attention to AI applications and investing in space sciences given their roles in shaping sustainable development paths. 

    Dr. AlMalik stated that there are a number of key elements every 21st-century university should possess to keep up with current development and changes. These include, he further explained, the ability to have sufficient freedom and autonomy, sustain funding resources, build young people’s capacities in the fields of the jobs of the future, and build local and international sustainable partnerships with economic, industrial and technological institutions. He also underlined the need to upgrade the working mechanisms of the universities of the Islamic world and invest in human capital as a key development indicator. 

    At the close of his address, the DG reiterated the commitment of ICESCO and the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World (FUIW) to support the efforts of the universities of the Islamic world to achieve sustainable development goals and develop cooperation and complementary mechanisms between Member Universities. He also conveyed ICESCO and the FUIW’s readiness to build smart partnerships, expressing his hope that the Member States’ universities can join the ranks of prominent and world-renowned universities by 2030.

    Following the address, ICESCO DG present ICESCO Shield, “Long Live Egypt, the New Republic” to President El-Sisi, before proceeding to the first scientific session of the Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research, which the President attended. The session focused on the prospects of technological advancements, jobs of the future, and the importance of foresight.  It was moderated by Dr. Abdel Ghaffar and featured the participation of Dr. AlMalik.

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