44th Session of ICESCO Executive Council Kicks off in Jeddah
17 January 2024
The 44th Session of the Executive Council of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) kicked off on Wednesday, 17 January 2023, in Jeddah. The Session is hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented in its National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, and saw the participation of high-level officials, including ministers, ambassadors, and representatives from the Member States, alongside delegations of regional and international organizations.
The opening session began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, followed by the address of Mr. Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Alblihed, Secretary-General of the Saudi National Commission, where he stated that Jeddah hosts the proceedings of the Executive Council as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to support science, culture and education at the national, regional and international levels, lauding ICESCO’s remarkable efforts and cooperation with the National Commissions to boost the performance of the Member States.
In his address, Dr. Dawas Tayseer Dawas, Chairman of the ICESCO Executive Council and secretary-general of the Palestinian National Commission, stressed the need to actively support, adopt and localize international best practices to advance the fields of education, culture and science in the Member States, noting ICESCO’s role as a platform for sharing expertise, best practices and viewpoints.
For his part, Dr. Mohamed Ayman Ashour, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, President of the Egyptian National Commission, and President of the ICESCO General Conference, commended the Organization’s proactive strategy and action plan that takes risk management into consideration. He further underscored that ICESCO has not only updated its strategy but turned challenges into real opportunities for building a brighter future for the Islamic world.
In his address, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, stated that the Executive Council is an opportunity for Member States’ representatives to take stock of ICESCO’s achievements during the year as well and its aspirations for the following one, calling on them to express their views on the final report of the activities and programs to contribute to their development.
Moreover, Dr. AlMalik announced a proposal to create an ICESCO bureau in the State of Palestine, in reflection of its supportive stance vis-à-vis the Palestinian people in the fields of education, culture, and science. Dr. AlMalik stated that this measure would be replicated in Syria, the Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and other Member States.
Additionally, Dr. AlMalik cast light on the developments of the ICESCO Goodwill Ambassadors Program, which included the appointment of a host of prominent figures in politics and culture, most recently, His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, pointing to the success of the Organization’s General Directorate in attracting new financial resources, thus tripling the Organization’s core budget.
Afterward, Dr. Nicolas Peter, President of the International Space University (ISU) in France, the Session’s guest of honor, lauded the ICESCO-ISU partnership, noting that space sciences are the backbone of the economy.
Subsequently, Ms. Jaymi Stephens, Head of Strategic Partnerships at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), delivered, via videoconference, the address of Mr. Sergio Mujica, ISO Secretary-General, stressing the importance of developing solid standards in implementing and managing strategies to ensure innovation and address challenges.
The respective ambassadors of Palestine and Lebanon accredited to Morocco recounted their experience dealing with the Organization’s General Directorate, praising the outstanding partnership between ICESCO and their countries under its new strategic orientations.
During the session, ICESCO awarded the two winning associations from Egypt and Bangladesh with its 2023 Prize for Girls and Women’s Literacy, an award geared towards encouraging pioneering initiatives and best practices in literacy and non-formal education targeting girls and women.
The opening session culminated in the signing of several partnerships and memoranda of understanding between ICESCO, prestigious institutes, and specialized bodies to implement programs and development projects for the Member States.
Following this opening session, the proceedings of the 44th Session of the ICESCO Executive Council kicked off to review the Organization’s performance reports and its plans for the upcoming two years.
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