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    ICESCO International Symposium: Role of Civil Society is vital for Promoting and Safeguarding Heritage

    5 July 2022

    In a bid to promote the role of the civil society institutions in promoting and protecting cultural heritage, exchanging expertise in this field, and addressing its issues from a global standpoint, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and the Rabat Salé Mémoire Association organized a colloquium on “Role of Civil Society in Cultural Heritage Policy.” The event saw high-caliber participation including heritage officials and experts and a large number of heritage protection associations in the Kingdom of Morocco and other Arab and African countries.

    This symposium was held at ICESCO Headquarters, today, Tuesday, July 5, 2022, as part of the Programme of the celebration of Rabat as the Culture Capital in the Islamic World for 2022. The Colloquium reflects ICESCO’s vision and working strategy in the field of safeguarding and promoting the heritage of the Islamic world through opening up and cooperating with the competent parties in the Member States and the civil society institutions concerned with protecting tangible and intangible heritage.

    Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), addressed the participants at the opening session and noted that civil society is a key element in the effective planning and implementation of heritage protection activities, given its functional abilities to support government authorities in this field. He added that guided by international standards, ICESCO accords special attention to building the capacities of professionals working in the various fields of cultural heritage.

    In addition, the DG announced that ICESCO will soon publish a collection of textbooks and guidebooks on the various forms of heritage and ways to deal with them, stating that ICESCO works on developing university heritage curricula and training programs, in cooperation with civil society institutions active in the field of heritage.

    In his address, Mr. Mohammed Fikri Benabdallah, President of Rabat Salé Mémoire Association, expressed his delight at the fruitful partnership between the Association and ICESCO, noting that urban heritage is key in light of the rapidly changing international context. He also highlighted the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco to promote heritage.

    For his part, Mr. Mohamed Mahdi Bensaid, Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, highlighted the event’s importance, reaffirming the status of Rabat as a city of coexistence between various cultures.

    Taking the floor next, Mr. Abdelkrim Bennani, President of Ribat Al-Fath Association, talked about the role of the civil society in casting light on shortcomings in dealing with historical and civilizational landmarks and intellectual productions, stressing the need to adopt a participatory vision that engages all stakeholders in heritage protection.

    As for Mr. Noureddine Chemaou, President of Bouregreg Association, he highlighted the roles of the civil society in promoting cultural heritage and talked about his association’s efforts to safeguard heritage and promote its cultural components, stressing the importance of fostering cultural heritage industries.

    At the close of the opening session, a framework agreement was signed between ICESCO and the Rabat Salé Mémoire Association for cooperation in the field of heritage.

    The first session of the colloquium discussed the role of civil society in the Kingdom of Morocco in promoting cultural heritage, while the second focused on leading experiences in cultural heritage promotion in the Islamic world.

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