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    Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Imam of Al-Azhar and Dr. Magued Osman Sign a Protocol To Implement Memory of Al-Azhar Project

    Cairo, 7 June 2011

    The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb and minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Magued Osman, signed today a protocol for cooperating between ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and Al-Azhar.

    According to this protocol, the Centre for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT), representing MCIT and Al-Azhar, represented by Al-Azhar El-Sharif Library, are to implement “Memory of Al-Azhar” Project.

    The two-year project comes within the framework of considerable efforts to identify the role of Al-Azhar along its great history that extends back for more than hundred years.

    Documenting Al-Azhar history through its attitudes and positions both internally and externally, documenting the biographies of Al-Azhar sheikhs along with their works and achievements over the past years, documenting the architectural heritage of Al-Azhar Mosque and the ancient religious institutions are some tracks of this huge project.

    These benefits given upon implementing such project is to have a full documentation of all presses released about Al-Azhar, implementing a virtual museum and designing and establishing a heritage panorama, Culturama.

    His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh Al-Azhar, said that Al-Azhar is the symbol of the Islamic religion thought and science.

    This justifies the keenness of both Al-Azhar and MCIT to accomplish the digital documentation of the Memory of Al-Azhar to include all the different events that Al-Azhar witnessed along different ages so as to be published via launching a digital portal on the internet.

    This is intended to acquaint all interested people and researchers worldwide with Al-Azhar history and its position as a step towards establishing a link between Al-Azhar’s past, present and future, allowing, hence, to provide the Memory of Al-Azhar.

    Dr. Magued Osman, minister of Communications and Information Technology, declared that the rapid developments in IT field have contributed to provide new concepts for the digital documentation process.

    Making use of such IT rapid development, it was the joint view of Al-Azhar in cooperation with MCIT to tackle this great project to get the memory of Al-Azhar digitally documented.

    Dr. Magued added also that this memory is seeking to document the main features of the history of Al-Azhar, Sheikhs and scholars throughout the ages which all taking part in providing a bank of the documented information.

    This bank of documented information will be acting as a nucleus upon which building could be pursued later, and to be presented within the best possible form of the available digital technology. It should be noticed that This content will be published on the Internet.

    His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb stated that the most outstanding objectives that this national project aspires to achieve is that to revive a call for the greatness of Al-Azhar to the minds of Muslims and the entire world, highlighting its role in the dissemination of the truly moderated Islam, and containing the differences between Islamic sects in line with preserving Muslim identity in different parts of the world and throughout the ages.

    Dr. Fathy Saleh, Director of Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, added that one of the most important objectives of this project is to prepare databases for the memory of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, and disseminate all the compiled data to be the source of the documented information about the history of Al-Azhar accessible on the Internet.

    These documented data is to be reachable by youth and the general public as well as researchers, which is contributing to increase the value of Arab e-content on the Internet. Also, this project aims at providing employment opportunities for young graduates.

    Dr. Fathi said also that the most important challenges facing the project are to explore and identify the sources of the heritage of Al-Azhar and its multiple elements in the various destinations and different members. An example of that is the heritage of Al-Azhari located in different libraries and another one in the hands individuals as private collections.

    To meet such challenge, experts form Al-Azhar Al-Sharif will help to prepare the necessary studies to discover the different sources to the memory of Al-Azhar and the best way to get them.

    Furthermore, Mr. Mahdi Shaltout, Chairman of the Central Library of Al-Azhar, said that the attention to save and document the heritage is a priority of the Library of Al-Azhar, which led the library adopting a prior initiative to communicate the Centre of Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage to study the best way to implement the memory of Al-Azhar project. This study has taken more than a year and a half.

    Mr. Shaltout added also that the most important outputs of this project is the provision of a digital portal on the internet to get all researchers worldwide acquainted with the great history of Al-Azhar and its position. This is a step in order to link Al-Azhar’s past history with its present status and shedding light on its anticipated future.

    This goes in parallel with maintaining well-trained calibers capable of using modern means of technology and the databases of all the major tracks of the Al-Azhar heritage. It should be noted also that the documentation process will be ongoing after the project is handed over.

    It is expected that the project outputs will be published on an electronic portal, hardcopy publications and other channels during the two-year estimated implementation period.

     MCIT and Al-Azhar El Sharif are to share the total cost of implementing the project within their respective competences and tasks that have been agreed upon in advance.

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