Dr Abdullah Mhareb the new Director-General of the Arab League Educational and Culture
Tunis – Azhar Jarboui
Kuwait’s Abdullah Hamad Mhareb has been elected Secretary-General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation [ALECSO] in a vote held at the organisation’s 21st conference in Tunis.
Mhareb finished ahead
of Tunisian Education Minister Abdellatif Abid, who presided over the conference
This is the first time in 12 years that a Tunisian is not at the helm of the Arab organisation since Dr Mongi Bousnina was elected to the post in February 2001 before being replaced by Mohamed el-Aziz Ben Ashour, who held the position from 2009 to 2012.
The conference ended late on Sunday evening, and was heavily attended by Arab delegations, members of the Tunis diplomatic corps and local, Arab and foreign media.
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki announced a programme called “The Shrine of the Arabic Language” to be proposed by his country at the next Arab summit.
The programme promotes the Arabic language, including the Arabisation of the sciences as well as developing the language itself. It aims to create a network of advanced language centres across the Arab world, which would be tasked with compiling dictionaries and writing scientific works of reference.
This network, according to the programme, would also be responsible for compiling educational curriculum as well as training teachers and professors in order to achieve the full \"Arabisation\" of the sciences by the end of the next decade. There would also be a university-level establishment for the study of local dialects.
Marzouki also proposed the creation of an Arab Nobel Prize to be presented to top studies written in Arabic, alongside the creation of an institute charged with the dissemination of the Arabic tongue that may be named after Ibn Khaldun in the same vein as the Goethe and Confucius Institute for the German and Chinese languages.
The Palestinian delegation presented a survey of documents relating to the “Judaisation” of Jerusalem and the destruction of local cultural heritage. The head of the delegation, Palestinian writer Yahya Yakhlif warned the attendees that the al-Aqsa Mosque and the old buildings around it may collapse due to excavation works.
The novelist also called for better coordination with the World Heritage Committee to support Palestine’s request to have the Battir site added to the World Heritage list next year, in addition to supporting infrastructure and cultural heritage projects in Jerusalem.
In a meeting with the Palestinian representative, Marzouki also stressed the need to protect the city from “Judaisation” especially in light of Israel’s aggressive settlement policies in and around Jerusalem.