By Shabbir Hussain
ISLAMABAD, Thursday, June 18, 2020 (WNP/DL): The extraordinary virtual conference of culture ministers of the member states of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), held with the participation of 50 countries and 22 international organizations, under the theme – sustainability of cultural action in the face of crises (Covid-19) – Thursday concluded.
The ministers of culture and the heads and representatives of the participating regional and international organizations were of the view to promote the position of culture in tomorrow’s societies to face future challenges, support and develop digital culture, raise awareness about cultural heritage, and encourage the culture of solidarity and cultural synergy.
In the final statement read out by ICESCO Director General Dr Salim M AlMalik, the participants reiterated their support to ICESCO’s vision which is based on conserving, protecting, supporting and rehabilitating the cultural and civilizational heritage of the Islamic world to preserve the Islamic world’s cultural identity and anchor human rights, most notably the cultural rights which ICESCO seeks to sustain, particularly during crises and disasters.
Moreover, the statement stressed the importance of the Digital Cultural Strategic Project, prepared by ICESCO as a proactive initiative for the management of cultural affairs and as a sustainable anticipatory programme for future cultural action.
The participants also called for developing cultural projects and programmes to bring culture closer to citizens in the urban and rural areas, promote the reality of cultural action and figures by anchoring a new vision which is more creative, developed ad consistent with the major trends which strongly impose themselves on the international scene such as the promotion of cultural diversity, the protection of the tangible and intangible heritage, and the use of AI applications.
The statement also underlined the importance of developing cultural tourism and promoting the complementary relationship between the sectors of culture and sports in building human beings by developing an integrated system of programmes for the benefit of various social groups.
Besides, the participants lauded the initiative of “ICESCO Digital Home” as a knowledge platform in the fields of education, science, innovation and human sciences, including the programme of “Distance Culture,” which they committed to support and enrich its digital contents as well as the contents of the Portal of the Islamic World Heritage and the digital libraries.
Furthermore, they reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with ICESCO Heritage Center and the Islamic World Heritage Committee in highlighting the richness of the cultural and civilizational heritage of Member States and inscribing the largest number possible of heritage sites.
The statement also commended the efforts of ICESCO and its director general in developing and implementing innovative projects based on the digital culture in the management and sustainability of cultural activities, particularly during crises and disasters.
In conclusion, the participants thanked ICESCO and its director general for calling to this conference amid these difficult global circumstances triggered by the spread of Covid-19. They also thanked the State of the United Arab Emirates for chairing the conference.
The conference’s sessions witnessed considerable interaction from the ministers and the heads of the participating international organizations.
During the interactive session, the participants explored the future of cultural actions and the need to develop it through modern technologies and promote the digital culture.
The conference concluded with an address by Dr AlMalik wherein he thanked the ministers and the heads of the international organizations for their participation in the conference and support to ICESCO’s initiatives.