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    ICESCO Signs MoU with Egyptian Ain Shams University and German Marburg University to Cooperate on Heritage Preservation

    12 April 2022

    The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), the Egyptian Ain Shams University, and the German Marburg University signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of safeguarding cultural and natural heritage in the Islamic world through the promotion of scientific and technological research in the fields of heritage preservation and management. The parties also agreed on preparing and implementing joint academic projects in this field, including a master’s program on the preservation and digitization of archival heritage; preparing and implementing courses and offering grants in the field of heritage; and building the capacities of heritage professionals.

    The MoU was signed during the visit of Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), and his accompanying delegation to the headquarters of Ain Shams University in Cairo, where they were received by its President, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Matini, at the University Presidency in the historic Al-Zaafaran Palace, in the presence of several vice-presidents and faculty deans.

    At the beginning of the visit, the two parties held a meeting to explore cooperation prospects between ICESCO and Ain Shams University in many fields of common interest such as space sciences and its applications, academic chairs, and youth training in the field of heritage preservation and protection. During the meeting, Dr. AlMalik highlighted the main axes of ICESCO’s new vision and strategic orientations by 2025, while Dr. Al-Matini gave an overview of the University and talked about its key faculties, noting that more than 200,000 students are enrolled in the University, which has a teaching staff of 14,000 members. At the close of the meeting, both parties expressed their keenness to build fruitful cooperation.

    Afterward, the signing ceremony of the MoU, as well as its annex to the MA program, was held, with the attendance of representatives from Universität Marburg and the participation of Dr. Albercht Fuess, President of the Center of Islamic Studies at the University, from Germany via videoconference.

    In his address, the President of Ain Shams University reiterated his thanks to ICESCO DG for his visit to the University, commending the Organization’s new open-door policy and its constructive cooperation with universities in its Member States and beyond. Dr. Al-Matini noted that there are numerous areas of common interest between ICESCO and the University, especially about building young people’s capacities and training them to face the challenges of the future.

    Dr. Mamdouh Al-Damati, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Archeology at Ain Shams University, gave a presentation on the MoU and cooperation in the fields of training, capacity-building and scholarships, explaining that the MA program includes two years of study, the first year at Ain Shams University and the second at Philipps-Universität Marburg. For his part, Dr. Albrecht Fuess expressed his delight to take part in this signing ceremony, noting that his University and Ain Shams University have completed 10 years of cooperation, with eight other German universities planning to join this cooperation.

    Dr. Ayman Saleh, Vice President of Ain Shams University for Graduate Studies and Research, commended ICESCO’s efforts to cooperate with universities and research centers, and encourage investment in space sciences, explaining that the MA program will provide scholarships for researchers from inside and outside the Islamic world for the preservation and management of heritage.

    In his address, Dr. AlMalik stressed that ICESCO’s vision accords great importance to heritage preservation. “The Organization has established the Center of Heritage in the Islamic World as an effective tool for implementing its strategy for safeguarding heritage and sustaining its development role for the benefit of all Member States’ peoples. ICESCO has also launched the academic programs for teaching and linking heritage with modern technologies with a view to training qualified staff capable of managing and safeguarding heritage”, underlined ICESCO DG.

    At the close of his address, Dr. AlMalik reaffirmed ICESCO’s sustained keenness to cooperate with all international and academic parties operating in the fields of heritage and AI to optimize its use in all the components and patterns of heritage, calling for holding an international scientific conference on the use of AI applications and technologies and digitization in the fields of heritage.

    After that, Dr. AlMalik and Dr. Al-Matini signed the MoU, and then ICESCO DG and his delegation visited the collection of heritage manuscripts at Ain Shams University and the restoration of the manuscript lab, where the officials explained the stages of the restoration process and highlighted the lab’s mechanism.

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