At the Mediterranean Tourism Forum in Malta, ISESCO Director General says: Building world peace hinges upon developing educational curricula, promoting intercultural dialogue values and countering hatred and extremism
The Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, stated that the world is expecting concrete initiatives likely to build world peace, eliminate tendencies of extremism, hate, racism, and racial, cultural and religious discrimination, at this present critical juncture in its history, especially on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, where armed conflicts are exacerbating, with their ensuing economic crises and humanitarian calamities, amid the violation of international laws, the inaction of some major powers and their inability to do their best to maintain international peace and security, adding that tourism is a means of peace-building, the backbone of comprehensive and sustainable development, and a pillar of economic edifice, social prosperity and cultural advancement.
This statement is part of an address by Dr Altwaijri at the 5th Mediterranean Tourism Forum, kicked off today in Valletta, Republic of Malta. At the onset of his address, ISESCO Director General maintained that the choice of the “Mediterranean Blue” as a theme for this session accurately and deeply reflects the chief objective this Forum has sought to achieve throughout its consecutive sessions, specifically building peace on the shores of the Mediterranean, the cradle of the history-steeped successive human civilizations and cultures from which emerged the modern global civilization.
In the same vein, he emphasized that this theme which the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation managed to choose is symbolic of peace, harmony, and coexistence among nations and peoples, not only in this immense region but also among those of the world at large. He also highlighted that since this Forum aims, among other things, to develop sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean through transforming the Mediterranean sea into a an area of peace, cooperation, and prosperity, its attainment necessitates the promotion of dialogue values among civilizations, alliance of civilizations, dissemination of justice and peace culture, establishment of an integrated educational system on the basis of the deep understanding of human citizenship that goes beyond discrimination on grounds of color, language or belief.
“Out of the wide experience in shouldering the responsibilities within the realm of competence of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), which I represent here, I can say that building peace on earth is dependent on developing school curricula and educational programmes; fostering the values of dialogue among cultures, civilizations and followers of religions; collectively engaging in the fight against discrimination, hate and extremism; and promoting deeper understanding, rapprochement and coexistence within the human family”, declared Dr Altwaijri at this Forum he attended upon invitation from the President of the Republic of Malta, Ms Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the Forum’s Patron.
He further affirmed that supporting human development projects, promoting cooperation in all fields, and developing trade, industry, agriculture and expertise sharing among Mediterranean countries will surely open the way for prosperous diplomatic relations among these countries which will lead to greater tourism boom, expand large tourism projects, increase trade, organize activities that boost cultural and sporting values through regional cooperation in all these areas.
“We, at ISESCO, acting within the framework of ‘the Strategy of the Development of Cultural Tourism in the Islamic World’ which was adopted by the 6th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers held in Baku, capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2009 and the 7th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers held in Tehran in 2010, endeavor to develop and translate these concepts into realistic action and palpable projects”, Dr Altwaijri stated.
In Conclusion, ISESCO Director General clarified that the development of cultural tourism is part and parcel of leisure and sport tourism and that religious tourism development also falls into this category, pointing out that since some parts of the Islamic world are located on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, this issue is, therefore, of prime interest to Muslims who belong to the peoples of the region, hence, he added, ISESCO’s interest in the implementation of the objectives of the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation.