ISESCO Director General at a symposium hosted by the French Senate: Strong political will needed for a honnest fair enforcement of humanist ideals and international law principles
The Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, this morning at the French Senate in Paris addressed the International Symposium on Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue for Women, held by the Association of Arab Women of the Press and Communication (AFACOM), in association with ISESCO and other organizations and institutions, on the theme “The role of women as intercultural mediators of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue”.
The Director General started his address by underscoring the role of Euro-Mediterranean dialogue as an innovative form of North-South dialogue commensurate with the developments having marked the relations between Mediterranean countries in particular and international relations in general. Dialogue, he explained, was essentially an effective means for building trust, mutual respect and a balanced cross-cutting partnership, as well as a mechanism for promoting peace in this part of the world.
He pointed out that the symposium’s previous session discussed ways to provide a proper platform for a meaningful and serious dialogue on women issues between the two banks of the Mediterranean, with a view to developing practical proposals and viable projects aimed at boosting women’s participation in integrated sustainable development. In the same vein, he added that this year’s session whose theme was closely related to the one discussed by the previous meeting, would address women’s role as intercultural mediators of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue. As part of that mission, women actually carry out a multifunctional mission, and contribute to promoting a culture of dialogue, coexistence and tolerance among peoples, preventing wars and crises and accordingly maintaining societal security and stability, he explained.
By the same token, he expressed his conviction that the themes of both sessions complement each other in terms of substance, given the crucial importance of the socio-cultural and developmental role being undertaken by women today.
As Dr Altwaijri pointed out, such is the context of the action led by the Union for the Mediterranean through its ministerial conferences held in 2006, 2009, and 2013 respectively in Istanbul, Marrakech and Paris, which culminated in the Action Plan on Women’s Status in the Mediterranean Region. “This action plan is a wide-ranging programme to promote women’s social role, not only in the conventional yet important way, but also using modern methods, particularly by encouraging women’s participation in the cultural and political action in its broadest sense, with the aim of increasing awareness of the important role dialogue plays at various levels in the convergence of policies favoring the vital interests of peoples,” he said.
He stressed that cultural mediation, as such, was in fact an advanced mechanism for extending the scope of participation in cultural affairs. As a roadmap for an integrated cross-cutting action oriented towards comprehensive development, it is an agent of intercultural rapprochement on the basis of understanding among peoples, as well as a tool for a greater strategic dialogue conducive to mutually beneficial inter-state relations, he further explained. It was therefore an effective means for the holistic development and progress of communities in a way that upholds good neighborhood and common-interest sharing by materializing dialogue in its various dimensions, the Director General concluded.
On the other hand, Dr Altwaijri tackled the international context of the symposium saying that world today is facing a cute crisis marked by devastating wars, bitter conflicts, growing trends of hatred and racism and huge migration flows. In this regard, he maintained that “There is no other way out of this situation than embracing back the noble humanistic ideals, which constitute the ethical basis of international law, including the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments that need a strong political will to be enforced honestly and fairly.”
He argued that since dialogue was a wise alternative to conflict and while understanding is the surest means for building trust and mutual respect, the promotion of intercultural dialogue along with the alliance of civilizations was the only way for developing international relations, and settling the crises threatening world peace and security.
Concluding his address, the Director General of ISESCO stressed the need for activating and expanding the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue as a driving force of stability and wellbeing in the Mediterranean region, underscoring that “this is a collective moral and political responsibility lying with us all,” and explaining that women obviously have a major role to play as part of this mission which we will discuss during this symposium.