12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in Islamic World kicks off in Doha
25 September 2023
The 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World kicked off today, Monday, 25 September, 2023, in Doha. The Conference is organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and is hosted by the State of Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Culture, under the theme, “Towards the Renewal of Cultural Action in the Islamic World.” The Conference brought together a host of Culture Ministers, delegations of ICESCO Member States, and representatives of various regional and international organizations active in cultural fields.
The Conference’s opening session began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, followed by the address of Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, who emphasized that the Organization is fulfilling its cultural responsibilities, stating that culture is not merely an identity or a social label but rather the essence of nations’ contributions to the progression of civilization. Dr. AlMalik also highlighted ICESCO’s efforts and key initiatives aimed at developing and renewing cultural action in the Islamic World, through capitalizing on artificial intelligence applications, engaging the youth in heritage preservation and promotion endeavors, implementing various projects and programs, and creating new concepts to foster civilizational outreach.
Moreover, Dr. AlMalik expressed his gratitude to the State of Qatar, its Emir, Government, and people for hosting this major cultural event in Doha, a city recently celebrated as a Culture Capital in the Islamic World. He added that this city well-represented its proud history and highlighted all aspects of its prosperity and ingenuity, and successfully navigated the challenges of hosting the FIFA World Cup, seizing the largest opportunity to display culture in the history of the World Cup.
Subsequently, a documentary was screened showcasing the achievements scored during the celebration of Doha as the 2021 Culture Capital in the Islamic World, under the theme “Our Culture is Light.”
Speaking next was Ms. Irina Bokova, former UNESCO Director-General, and the Conference’s guest of honor, who stressed that Islam is a religion of peace, highlighting the role of the Islamic civilization as a catalyst for bringing cultures closer together. The former UN official also commended ICESCO’s efforts in heritage preservation and youth and women empowerment.
Afterward, the State of Qatar assumed the Conference presidency from the Republic of Tunisia, the President of the previous session. This was followed by a group photo of the participating Heads of Delegations.
By the end of the opening session, the ICESCO Director-General and the Culture Ministers went on a tour of the Conference exhibition, which features a pavilion dedicated to ICESCO’s key publications in its areas of competence.
The first working session began with the composition of the Conference’s Bureau, with the State of Qatar as Chair, the Republic of Senegal as Vice-Chair, and the Republic of Tunisia as Rapporteur.
In his address, Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, Minister of Culture of the State of Qatar and president of the Conference, welcomed the participants, and emphasized Qatar’s commitment to cultural development, stating that celebrating Doha the 2021 Culture Capital in the Islamic World was a testament to the depth of its cultural heritage and civilizational legacy.
Furthermore, he called for working towards preserving cultural identity and shielding the new generations against detrimental ideologies, noting that culture has often been threatened by external influences.
Over the course of two days, The Conference will continue its proceedings to adopt the reports and documents presented to the Culture Ministers and participating delegations.
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