Dr Frank Anthony (L) meets with ISESCO Director General Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri
By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Youth, culture and sports minister of Guyana, Dr Frank Anthony, attended the 2nd Islamic Conference of the Ministers of Youth and Sports from March 17 to 18 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, the director general of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), met with Anthony on Monday, on the sidelines of the conference.
Talks during this meeting focused on cultural cooperation between ISESCO and Guyana, according to an ISESCO press release.
The ISESCO director general visited Guyana last month.
Speakers during the opening session of the conference included Prince Nawaf bin Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Islamic Sports Solidarity Federation (ISSF) president; Iyad Madani, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) secretary general; and Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri. These three groups hosted the event.
The conference examined the report by the ISSF president on the federation’s activities between the first and second sessions; the broad lines of the draft strategy for promoting youth issues in the Islamic world: achievements and future prospects; the draft document on the Muslim youth, human rights and citizenship.
The Guyana minister addressed the forum, urging ISESCO not to forget Guyana because of its geographical distance from the Muslim world. Guyana, he added, “will bring a unique perspective” to ISESCO’s deliberations on youth and sports.
Anthony said, “We know that a lot of focus has been on Africa, Asia and Arab countries, whose population are predominantly Muslims, but we want to implore you not to forget Guyana. We are located in South America and about 15% of our population is Muslim.”
Guyana threw its support behind ISESCO’s initiative to form an expert consultative group to study the situation of youth in the Muslim world.
“We hope that through this situational analysis that we would uncover some of the challenges that young people face. And this would allow us to devise new and innovative programs to tackle these challenges,” Anthony said.
He suggested that ISESCO consider establishing a youth award programme to recognize extraordinary young people across the Islamic world.
He said, “Young people who have excelled in various fields can be role models for others within our community.”
Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, in his opening address to the session, called on the Islamic world to devote greater attention to youth in every way, and to enhance sports activities, which could shield them from negative influences that can affect their personal and physical development.
Suriname, Guyana’s neighbour to the east, is also a member of ISESCO.