On Monday, April 21, 2008, UNESCO director general Koïchiro Matsuura signed a cooperation agreement with the director general of the Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, at UNESCO headquarters.
According to the UNESCO press release, this agreement made provision for the implementation of 128 projects to be jointly financed to the tune of some US$5 million from 2008 to 2009 by UNESCO and ISESCO. Activities cover the fields of education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, communication, and information. They include international and regional expert meetings; national capacity-building workshops; and seminars on best practices and experience sharing, setting up databases, and organizing science policy forums, training courses, sessions, publications, and translations.
“In twenty years of cooperation, never have we had so many joint activity projects,” stated Mr. Matsuura in his welcoming address. “This bears testimony to a very successful and sustainable partnership, allowing us to achieve common goals of development, peace, and dialog in the Arab, African, and Asian regions,” he added.
“Knowledge needs to be shared. We must endow countries with powerful research systems and development strategies, highly effective education systems, and a range of public learning and cultural facilities. To meet these challenges, UNESCO commands the valuable expertise and experience of ISESCO. I have no doubt these 128 new projects will help us to propose lines of action favoring an interdisciplinary approach to scientific cooperation based on the sharing of information, know-how, and best practices,” concluded Mr. Matsuura.
Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri responded by praising the fruitful cooperation with UNESCO since 1988. “This cooperation has proven most effective in helping Member States to address challenges emanating from globalization in an integrated framework. Today, ISESCO stands ready again, together with UNESCO, to respond to an increasing demand for advice and expertise based on analysis, understanding, sharing, and anticipation,” he said.
The ISESCO press release also reveals that “In the field of culture and communication, the two sides agreed to implement activities on the technological liability of electronic publications; developing museums in the Arab Maghreb countries; preparing a guide to the management of museums; developing traditional industries (glass); convening a meeting of experts on the network of research on economic, social, and cultural rights in the Arab Maghreb countries; training female journalists; drafting and distributing a study on cultural diversity; using information and communication technologies to establish libraries for ancient Arab literature; and organizing training sessions in some applications of information and communication technologies.”