The 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World kicked off in Doha Monday under the theme 'Toward Renewing Cultural Action in the Islamic World'.
Hosted by Qatar and represented by the Ministry of Culture, and held by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), the conference featured the participation of a host of ministers of cultural affairs, delegations of the ICESCO member states, as well as representatives of a group of regional and international organisations working in the cultural fields.
The conference approved the formation of its office in its upcoming session that will be held throughout 2024-2025, as Qatar has taken over presidency from Tunisia and will serve as rapporteur of the Council and Senegal as Vice-President.
In his remarks before the first session, HE the Minister of Culture Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani welcomed the participants, pointing out that the holding of this conference came after Doha was chosen the capital of Islamic culture two years ago, during which Doha translated the cultural richness it abounds with as the land of dialogue and the forum for cultures whose cultural events had contributed to introducing the characteristics of Islamic culture on its land.
Qatar gives top priority to culture in achieving development and building human potential, as culture was showcased during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the most outstanding global event that was successfully organized by Qatar, HE the minister said.
He affirmed that the World Cup was not merely a tournament, but rather it proved that culture is the bedrock of global events whatever their types are, pointing out that Qatar broadcasted all cultural, Arabic, and Islamic messages that gained respect of world nations and identified the richness of Qatari values and abilities to build a civilized world.
HE the Minister of Culture called for safeguarding the cultural identity and protecting the new generations from subversive ideologies.
HE Sheikh Abdulrahman sent his earnest condolences to the families of victims and peoples of Morocco and Libya who were traumatised in the aftermath of the earthquake and floods, respectively, this month. He said Arab cultures are deep rooted in the Islamic values and make the nations one body; if a member of it is afflicted, the whole of the body is affected.
In his inaugural remarks , Director-General of the ISESCO, Salem bin Mohammed al- Malik, thanked His Highness the Amir, the government, and the people of Qatar for hosting this tremendous cultural event in Doha which has been the capital of culture in the Islamic world .
Qatar has demonstrated an incredible proficiency and rose to the challenges of hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, where culture gained ample space in the history of the global tournament, al-Malik said.
He underlined that ISESCO discharges its duty in the cultural action, since culture is not merely a hobby or a badge of social identification, but it is the pulse of nations in advancing civilization, reviewing ISESCO's efforts and initiatives to upgrade and renew the cultural action in the Islamic world through leveraging applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), including young people in the efforts of preserving and valuing heritage, setting a number of projects and programmes, as well as innovating new concepts for civilised communication.
Former UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, who attends the conference as guest of honour, hailed Islam as a religion of peace and Islamic civilization as a driver for rapprochement among cultures. She said that Islamic values promote science, culture, and civilisational interaction.
Praising Qatar's hosting of FIFA World Cup 2022 , Bokova said Qatar had turned the global mega event into a dialogue of cultures. She also expressed appreciation for Qatar's cultural renaissance and its cooperation with UNESCO in various fields including heritage, with Doha having hosted the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2013.
Bokova lauded ICESCO's efforts in preserving heritage, supporting youth and women, and partnering with UNESCO to achieve many goals.
The inauguration featured a documentary on the achievements during the Celebration of Doha as the Arab Region's Capital of Islamic Culture for 2021, which was held in March, 2021 under the theme of "Our Culture is Light". There was another documentary on ICESCO's achievements and initiatives.
After the inaugural session of the conference, HE the Minister of Culture, the Director-General of ICESCO and the participating ministers of culture toured the exhibition accompanying the conference. The display showcased plastic arts, artistic works, manuscripts and exhibits of several centers affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, in addition to a special ICESCO pavilion that featured its most important publications.
The conference took stock of the most important initiatives and final outcomes of the 18th meeting of the Consultative Council for Cultural Development in the Islamic World, which was held on Saturday.
The conference adopted Qatar's Lusail City as the Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2030, documents for developing the ICESCO Programme for Capitals of Culture in the Islamic World, and the most important countries nominated to host Capitals of Culture in the Islamic World during the coming period.
Also among the outcomes were discussing ICESCO's efforts to support cultural work in line with its vision and strategy, the Islamic World Heritage Committee report and the guidance document for cultural policies.
Other reports and documents will be discussed over the two-day event.
HE the Minister of Culture Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani with ministers of cultural affairs, representatives of ICESCO member states and guests at the opening of the 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World, in Doha yesterday