Yesterday, the work of the 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World, held by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and hosted by the State of Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Culture, began under the slogan (Towards Renewing Cultural Work in the Islamic World), in the presence of a large number of ministers of cultural affairs, delegations of ISESCO member states, and representatives of a group of regional and international organizations working in the cultural fields. During the conference, the formation of the conference bureau was approved for its next edition, which extends over the years 2024-2025, as Qatar took over the presidency from Tunisia, which will serve as rapporteur of the Council, and the State of Senegal as vice-president. In his speech during the first session, His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Thani/ Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Conference, welcomed the participants, noting that the holding of this conference came after Doha two years ago was the capital of Islamic culture. At that time, Doha translated its cultural richness into a land of dialogue and a meeting place for cultures, and its cultural activities contributed to introducing the characteristics of Islamic culture on its land.

His Excellency confirmed that the State of Qatar attaches great importance to culture in achieving development and building people, and that culture was not absent from the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the most prominent global event organized by Qatar with great success. The World Cup was not just a sporting event, but rather proved that culture remains the cornerstone of international events, regardless of their type, noting that the State of Qatar broadcast all the Arab-Islamic cultural messages that won the respect of the peoples of the world and made known the richness of our values and its ability to build a civilized character. His Excellency called for attention to the priority of renewing the vision of officials for cultural work that emerges from a new understanding of the challenges of building humanity and the aspirations of future generations. His Excellency the Minister of Culture also confirmed that the act of renewal is fraught with risks if the national culture is not fortified from within and capable of imposing its specificity abroad, calling for keeping cultural identity and fortifying new generations against destructive ideas.

At the beginning of his speech, His Excellency expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Moroccan and Libyan peoples in the great loss after the earthquake that struck Morocco and the hurricane that swept areas of Libya earlier this month. He said: “Our culture, rooted in Islamic values, makes us like the body, if one organ complains, the rest of the body suffers with sleeplessness and fever.”)

After the conclusion of the opening session of the 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World, His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Thani/ Minister of Culture, His Excellency Dr. Salem bin Muhammad Al-Malik/ Director-General of ISESCO, and the Ministers of Culture toured the exhibition accompanying the conference, which included plastic arts, artistic works, manuscripts, and exhibits from a number of centers affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, in addition to a special pavilion for ISESCO, to display the organization’s most important publications in its fields of specialization.

The conference displayed the report issued by the Advisory Council for Cultural Development in the Islamic World, which was held last Saturday, and the most important initiatives and items reached by the Advisory Council.

The 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World adopted a set of decisions, the most important of which is the adoption of the Qatari city of Lusail as the Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2030, documents for developing the ISESCO Program for Capitals of Culture in the Islamic World, ways of developing it, and the most important countries nominated to host Capitals of Culture in the Islamic World during the coming period. During the conference, the organization’s efforts to support cultural work were also reviewed in light of its vision and strategic directions, as well as the report of the Heritage Committee in the Islamic World and the document of guidelines for cultural policies. The conference will continue its work sessions over two days to approve the reports and documents presented to the ministers of culture and delegations of participating countries.