By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) opened in Guyana on Sunday its ninth meeting of the heads of Islamic Cultural Centers and Associations in Latin America and the Caribbean, in collaboration with the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait, and in coordination with the Islamic Organization of Latin America, and the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana.
Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, the director general of ISESCO, addressed the audience during the opening ceremony, in which he highlighted ISESCO’s cooperation with international and regional organizations and bodies in all parts of the world. He said that ISESCO has been supporting the promotion of a “culture of peace and justice based on the values of dialogue, mutual understanding and mutual respect, through its programmes, activities and strategies.
President Donald Ramotar of Guyana addressed the opening ceremony as well. Also, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds; the foreign minister of Guyana, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett; and the minister of culture of Guyana, Dr Frank Anthony, participated in the opening session.
A long list of heads of Islamic cultural centers and associations from the following countries are participating in the meeting: Argentina, Guyana, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, the Dominican Republic, the Cayman Islands, Saint Martin, Martinique, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Suriname, the Bahamas, and French Guiana.
Representatives of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of the State of Kuwait, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) are also taking part in the meeting.
According ISESCO, the meeting will deliberate on ideas of how to put into effect the initiative of King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, for dialogue among civilizations and its executive plan in Latin America and the Caribbean.
It will also access the progress reports of the Islamic cultural centers and associations in Latin America and the Caribbean on the implementation of the “Strategy for Islamic Cultural Action outside the Islamic World.”
In parallel with this meeting, and at the invitation of the University of Guyana, the director general of ISESCO, will give a lecture on “Dialogue of Cultures and Building a New World Order.”
Along the same theme, Altwaijri on Sunday called for devoted initiatives to strengthen the bonds of coexistence, tolerance, solidarity and just peace when he addressed the opening session.
In closing, the ISESCO director general thanked the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait for its continuous cooperation with ISESCO to implement the programmes scheduled under the Strategy for Islamic Cultural Action outside the Islamic World. He also thanked Engineer Yusuf Hallar, the secretary general of the Islamic Organization for Latin America and the Caribbean, for the considerable efforts he put into holding the meeting, and Muhammed Fazeel Ferouz, the president of the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana, “for his commendable collaboration and coordination.”