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    Bahrain to Host 5th Meeting of Memory of the Arab World Project

    Date published: 21 March 2010
    Bahrain will host the 5th Meeting of Memory of the Arab World Project due to be held from 23-24 March, 2010 in the capital Manama.

    The event will be held under the patronage of Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Culture and Information, in cooperation with the Center for Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT).

    CULTNAT is an affiliate of Alexandria Bibliotheca. Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) supports the project carried out the umbrella of the Arab League.

    Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) supports the project carried out the umbrella of the Arab League and representatives of UAE, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Lebanon, Libya and Mauritania are partners in the project.  

    The Meeting will be attended by representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO), Arab Towns Organization (ATO), Tunis City Maintenance Society, Arabic Manuscripts Institute, Members of the Permanent Arab Culture Committee.

    A high-level delegation consisting of CULTNAT Director Dr. Fathi Saleh, Dr. Mohamed Saber Arab, Chairman of National General Authority of Books and Manuscripts (NGABM), Ms. Eglal Bahgat, Senior Deputy Director of CULTNAT and the Project Manager, Mr. Mohammed Safwat Salem, Secretary-General of Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO will take part in the event.

    Dr. Ahmed Morsi, Chairman of Egyptian Society for Folk Traditions, Dr. Mahdi Shaltout, Chairman of Central Administration of Al-Azhar Library and Deputy Culture Minister Mr. Hossm Nassar will also participate in the meeting.

    Dr. Saleh noted that the Manama meeting will discuss what has been achieved in the project’s portal as well as review the databases collected for the different aspects of Arab heritage in addition to new editions of bibliography representing several areas of Arab heritage.

    Moreover, the meeting will tackle the publication of a guide for institutions and organizations working in the field of documenting heritage and present a vision for the project website before launching the portal.

    The website is expected to present a map of the Arab World and the timelines connecting the different historic eras of Arab states. The portal is designed in a way allowing each country to enter, revise and accredit data before publishing it online.

    The Memory of the Arab World is a regional project that Arab Telecommunications and Information Council of Ministers approved in 2006 during a meeting held in Doha.

    It was listed among the strategic Arab information and communication technology (ICT) projects. The project is carried out by CULTNAT in cooperation with specialized agencies.

    The project aims at digitizing Arab heritage and publishing the digitized information online. Another purpose of the project is to preserve the cultural heritage of the Arab World and acquaint the coming generations with its different aspects via the use of state-of-the-art ICT tools.

    Ms. Bahgat noted that the importance of the project lies in being a tool to preserve Arab heritage through the internet as a technological medium, which is now the major source of knowledge in the world.

    The Arabic content on the web does not exceed 0.5%, while the percentage of registered Arab and Islamic heritage does is not more than 16,5%, she explained. These facts, she added, contradict with the Arab heritage contributions of culture to humanity.    

    According to Ms. Bahgat, the project requires the support of Arab countries, international organizations and institutions working in the field.

    CULTNAT coordinates the mechanism of carrying out the project in collaboration with several regional and international organizations offering content in this domain.

    Four meetings have been held so far in Sharjah, UAE in October 2007, another in Damascus, Syria in May 2008, a third in Cairo, Egypt in January 2009 and a fourth in Fes, Morocco in 2009.

    What has been accomplished in the past years will be formulated in the coming phase. The next meeting will be held in Doha in 2010, followed by another during which the project website will launched in Cairo mid next year.

    About CULTNAT
    The Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT) was established in January 2000 as a project operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). In 2003, CULTNAT become an affiliate of MCIT and Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The center runs an array of projects and programs for the documentation of both the tangible and intangible aspects of Egypt's cultural and natural heritage, including archeology, architecture, manuscripts, music, folklore, caricatures, plastic arts and natural resources.

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