The Establishment of ISESCO

The idea first took shape in the minds of the leaders of the Islamic renaissance movement at the dawning of a new age with the awakening of Muslim Ummah. Since the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the prospect of creating such an organization entertained the highest hopes of many reformers and leaders who called for the achievement of Muslim reunification and orderly action in order to serve the best interests of the Islamic nation. This initiative was also set as one of the main objectives of Islamic unity since it was first projected and reaffirmed in its new formulation during the sixth decade of the 20th century.

This idea finally took a concrete form and the dream became reality during the Ninth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (held in Dakar – Senegal, 24-28 April 1978). In its Resolution No. 9/9-C related to the recommendations of the First International Conference on Islamic Education, the Conference adopted the following decision:

«The Ninth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers meeting in Dakar, Republic of Senegal, from 17-21 Jumada Al Awal, 1398 H (24-28 April 1978), Having taken note of the recommendation adopted by the First International Conference on Islamic Education held in Mecca Al-Mukarramah, under the sponsorship of King Abdul Aziz University, on 12-20 Rabia’ Al Thani 1397 H, for the purpose of establishing an educational system inspired by the Holy Quran and the Sunnah and also in tune with modern educational developments and concepts:

1. Recommends that the General Secretariat circulate the said recommendations to Member States in order to serve as guidelines in drawing up their educational systems and for preparing their text books;

2. Appreciates the necessity of establishing an Islamic International Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization to be based in Mecca Al-Mukarramah, which would undertake the task of coordination between Islamic universities and educational and scientific institutions and supervising Islamic educational policies;

Decides:

3. To entrust the General Secretariat with the task of examining this matter in consultation with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, particularly as regards the draft statute and the proposed budget of the Organization.”The Tenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (held in Fez – Kingdom of Morocco, 8-12 May 1979) confirmed the above recommendation in its Resolution relating to the establishment of an International Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture.

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snapshot of isesco’s foundiing conference (fez conference palace, 3-5 may 1982)

The Tenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (held in Fez – Kingdom of Morocco, 8-12 May 1979) confirmed the above recommendation in its Resolution relating to the establishment of an International Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture.


Following is the text of the founding resolution:

«The Tenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Palestine and Al Quds Al Sharif Session) meeting in Fez, Kingdom of Morocco, from 11-15 Jumada Al Thani 1399 H (8-12 May 1979),

Affirming Resolution No. 9/9-C adopted by the Ninth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers,

Decides:

1. To establish an International Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture to coordinate among the specialized agencies of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the fields of education, science and culture, as well as among Member States, and shall be based in Morocco;

2. To establish an International Centre for Islamic Education that would conduct educational research and undertake all other activities which would make education in Muslim countries an authentic Islamic education. This Centre shall be based in Mecca Al-Mukarramah;

3. To request the General Secretariat to draw up the draft statutes of the International Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture and the International Centre for Islamic Education in consultation with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in collaboration with King Abdul Aziz University, the League of Islamic Universities and the World Federation of Arab-Islamic International Schools, and ,as a preliminary step, submit this study to the Permanent Council of the Islamic Solidarity Fund and the Islamic Commission for Economic, Social and Cultural Affairs, to consider and circulate it to Member States for their comment thereon prior to its submission to the Eleventh Islamic Conference.»


The project grew from a recommendation to become subject to a creation resolution, and then to ratification of the Statutes (Charter) of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization by the Eleventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (held in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, from 17-22 May 1980).

Following is Resolution No. 2/11-C of the Eleventh Islamic Conference:

«The Eleventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, from 2-7 Rajab 1400 H (17-22 May 1980)

Recalling Resolution 9/9-C adopted by the Ninth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Dakar and Resolution No. 12/10-C adopted by the Tenth Islamic Conference in Fez (Al Quds Al-Sharif and Palestine Session);

Reviewing the report of the Experts Group meeting in Jeddah and the recommendation of the Fifth Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs held in Conakry;

Decides:

1. To ratify the Statutes of the International Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture.

2. To approve the proposed budget.

3. To request the General Secretariat, in consultation with the host country, to convene the Founding Conference of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


Finally came the ultimate decision in the Third Islamic Summit Conference (held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 25-28 January 1981) whereby it was decided to set up a new international Islamic body to operate alongside other joint Islamic action organs within the framework of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Resolution No. 6/3-C (IS) of the Third Islamic Summit Conference regarding the establishment of the “Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization” specifies the following :

«The Third Islamic Summit Conference (Palestine and Al Quds Session) meeting in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from 19th to 22nd Rabia’ Al Awal 1401 H (25-28 January 1981),

Convinced that the cultural and educational foundations of the Islamic world play an important role in assuring its continuity and steadfastness in the face of factors seeking to distort, erode and alienate it, assisting it to counter the various assaults and the alien views maliciously introduced into Islam where education, science and culture are concerned;

Affirming the need to emphasize the traits of Islamic culture and education promoting them in the Islamic world as well as throughout the world, stressing the need to coordinate activities of Islamic scientific and educational institutions existing in various countries of the world, with a view to fostering full integration among them and establishing understanding and cooperation among institutions and eminent figures in the field of Islamic culture, on the one hand and other cultures, on the other hand, for the benefit of humanity and world peace;

Having noted resolutions No.(12/10-C) and (2/11-C) adopted by the Tenth Islamic Conference in Fez and the Eleventh Conference held in Islamabad on the establishment of an Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to be seated in the Kingdom of Morocco and the endorsement of its Statutes;

Decides:

1. To urge Member States to support the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization by facilitating the modalities for its establishment and enabling it to start the discharge of its functions;

2. To call upon Member States to declare their membership of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and to urge the states which have not yet ratified its Statutes to finalize the procedures of ratification;

3. To approve the recommendations adopted by the Sixth Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs held in Jeddah in Muharram 1401 A.H. (November 1980) on convening the Founding Conference of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the Seat Country .


This chronological order describes the various stages through which the concept of founding an international Islamic institution specialized in the fields of education, science and culture came into being. It went through five main stages: the Eighth, the Ninth, the Tenth, and the Eleventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers. The final stage was reached with the approval of the Third Islamic Summit Conference to establish the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, urging Member States to support the Organization and inviting them to join it. The Organization creation plan developed over a period of four years (1978-1981). A year later, the Founding Conference was held in furtherance of the recommendation adopted by the Sixth Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs held Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in November 1980.

On 3 May 1982, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) held its founding conference in Fez, the cultural capital of the Kingdom of Morocco, and elected His Excellency Professor Abdelhadi Boutaleb as its Director General.

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… This is a description of the context and process of establishing the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as an independent institution for joint Islamic action, as a result of the common will of the Muslim Ummah embodied in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, and the Founding Conference of ISESCO.

 

 

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