Dakar: Capital of Islamic Culture for African Region for the year 2007

ISESCO prizes awarded to Senegalese creative talents:

The former Senegalese Minister of Culture, Professor Hassan Seck, has won ISESCO first Prize for his research on the city of Dakar, while the second Prize went to his fellow citizen, sculptor Issa Diop, for his remarkable contribution to the embellishment of the city of Dakar.

Meanwhile Papa Moussa Ndaoe, a student, has won the third Prize for his research paper on the history of Dakar between 1885 and 1914.

The winners received their awards at the closing ceremony held to mark the end of the activities implemented in the city as part of its celebration as 2007 capital of Islamic culture for the African Region. The ceremony was attended by ISESCO Director General Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri and the Secretary General of the World Islamic Call Society Dr Ahmed Mohamed Sharif, along with several Senegalese government officials and different figures from the academic, scientific and cultural spheres.

In an address by ISESCO Director General in Dakar:

Preservation of national identity and cultural specialties to foster culture of dialogue and respect for cultural diversity

Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -ISESCO-, stated that the action which the Republic of Senegal has made this year, as part of the celebration of Dakar as 2007 Islamic culture capital for the African region, was consistent with the objectives outlined in the resolution of the 4th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers regarding the Programme of Islamic Culture Capitals. He also explained that ISESCO’s efforts to this end have contributed substantially to the revival of a significant portion of the rich cultural, artistic and civilizational heritage of the city of Dakar, which he described as a towering capital of culture, literature, knowledge, civilization, and a beacon for the African continent.

In his address at today’s official ceremony in Dakar, held to mark the closing of the festivities of Dakar as 2007 Islamic Culture Capital for the African Region, Dr Altwaijri pointed that a vast array of activities have been conducted this year in the field of dialogue among cultures and alliance of civilizations, the respect for cultural diversity among nations and peoples, and the dissemination of the culture of justice and peace, either as part of the festivities held in celebration of four capitals of Islamic culture: namely, Fez, Dakar, Tripoli, and Tashkent, or at the level of the symposia and conferences organized by ISESCO under its current three-year action plan, or through the Organization’s participation in the international events held in various places to discuss issues vital to the international community in its action aiming to build up balanced and harmonious international relations on the basis of mutual respect and the rule of international law.

He went on, “the activities carried out this year by ISESCO at the international level exceeded both in scope and in substance the activities of the previous year. Suffice it to mention here that ISESCO has actively participated in the ministerial meetings of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations, an international body reporting to the UN Secretary-General, which held two of its sessions at the UN headquarters in New York…The number of activities carried out during this year as part of the celebration of Dakar as capital of Islamic culture confirms that action towards the preservation of national identity, as well as cultural and civilizational specialties, is an integral part of the broad action towards fostering the culture of dialogue and respect for others. This is, indeed, one of the key aspects of cultural policy in this African, Muslim country deeply steeped in the glorious history of the African continent.”

ISESCO Director General said at the close of his address, “the current year has been a year of culture in the Republic of Senegal, not only because Dakar has been celebrated as capital of Islamic culture for the African region, but also because a number of reference cultural projects were elaborated in this capital-city. This certainly testifies to the Republic of Senegal’s important role in joint Islamic action, considering that it will play host, next March, to the 11th Islamic Summit Conference.”

ISESCO Director General to visit Senegal

Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -ISESCO-, is going on an official visit today evening to the Republic of Senegal upon invitation from Senegalese government. He will take part, on Friday 28th January, in the official ceremony marking the close of the festivities of Dakar as 2007 Islamic culture capital of the African region.

Consultative Council in Charge of Implementing the Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World Meets in Dakar

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -ISESCO- is holding the 7th Meeting of the Consultative Council in Charge of Implementing the Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World, in Dakar on 23-24 July 2007, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Classified Historical Heritage of Senegal.

Held on the occasion of the celebration festivities of Dakar as the 2007 Islamic Culture Capital of the African Region, the meeting will discuss the final draft of the documents which ISESCO will submit to the Council to adopt, as part of implementation of the Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World, before referring them for approval to the upcoming session of the Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers (November 2007, Tripoli). These documents are: the Draft Strategy for Islamic Cultural Takaful, the Draft Strategy for Developing Information and Communication Technologies in the Islamic World, and the Draft Programme of Action to Renovate Cultural Policies in the Islamic World.

An affiliated organ of ISESCO, the Consultative Council in Charge of Implementing the Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World was entrusted with the task of assisting the General Directorate at IESCO in setting the Strategy into effective motion, by virtue of a resolution of the 2nd Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers (Rabat, 1998). The Council is comprised of the following member states: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Sultanate of Oman, Syria, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Niger, Togo, Gambia, in addition to Senegal and the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Representing the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the meeting will be Mr. Najib Rhiati, Director of Culture and Communication at ISESCO.

African ICT-Planning EXPERTS Recommend Developing Relevant Laws

As part of the celebration of Dakar as 2007 Islamic Culture Capital for the African region, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in coordination with the Senegalese Ministry of Culture and Classified Historical Heritage, held between 18 and 20 June, in Dakar, a regional expert meeting on ICT-related planning and lawmaking in the French-speaking African Member States.

Taking part in the meeting were heads of legal departments in the ministries of communication, information and post in Guinea Conakry, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger and Senegal, in addition to ISESCO’s representative Mr El Mahjoub Bensaid, information and communication programmes specialist at the Directorate of Culture and Information.

The experts recommended the review of laws and legislations on information and communication technologies in the African countries, and proposed the incorporation of a course in this regard within the curricula of the computer specialist training institutes. They also called for the amendment of administrative, commercial and criminal laws in the Member States in order to rise to the challenges of electronic governance, cyber crime and e-commerce. In this connection, they emphasised the importance of the establishment in Africa of a network of legal experts specialized in information and communication to be supervised and coordinated by ISESCO in order to allow for the exchange of expertise and know-how within the framework of cooperation between the countries of the southern hemisphere.

The Islamic Organization’s experts recommended the organization of national sessions over the next two years (2008-2009) for the benefit of African jurists to help them improve their knowledge and technical capacities in the field of communication and information laws. In the same vein, they stressed the importance of involving experts specialized in communication and information laws in ISESCO’s efforts to counter the media campaigns against Islam and Muslims by conducting studies and taking legal action against media professionals responsible for these campaigns which are at odds with the internationally accepted press ethics.

Using Cultural Industries to Preserve Intangible Islamic Heritage

As part of the celebration of Dakar as capital of Islamic culture for the year 2007 on the African region, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -ISESCO- holds an experts’ meeting in that city between 23 and 25 April to look at the ways of making use of cultural industries and ICTs in the preservation of intangible Islamic heritage.

The meeting seeks to explore ways of making use of intangible Islamic heritage in order to support cultural industries in African Member States, and to examine the mechanisms for disseminating and publicizing that heritage by means of publications, cinema, television and other ICTs.

ISESCO is represented in the meeting by Mr. Papa Toumané Ndiaye, a programmes’ specialist at the Directorate of Culture and Communication. The World Islamic Call Society (WICS) is represented by its delegate to ISESCO, Dr. Mokhtar Ahmed Dira.

ISESCO celebrates the selection of Dakar as capital of Islamic culture for 2007

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -ISESCO- celebrates Dakar, capital of the Republic of Senegal, as the Capital of Islamic Culture for the year 2007, for the African region, as part of ISESCO’s special programme to celebrate capitals of Islamic culture in the Member States.

The official programme of celebration will start in Dakar, on 20 June 2007, in the presence of a host of personalities in the Senegalese government.

The celebration festivities will be opened by Mr. Mam Birame Diouf, the Minster of Culture and Classified Historical Heritage, who is representing his country’s government in this event.