The Katara initiative has given its place to the Arabic novel, says the head of Alecso

The Director General of the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (Alecso), Dr. Mohamed Ould Amar, hailed the fruitful cultural cooperation between the organization and Qatar.
He underlined the organization’s role in protecting the cultural and civilizational heritage of the city of Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, and endeavored to bring international governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the cultural domain to denounce the practices of the Israeli occupation by destroying Arab and Islamic cultural institutions.
He also pointed out that the Palestinian cause, with all its components and ramifications, receives special attention and support from the organization and from all Arab countries.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency, the managing director of Alecso said that the organization, based on the request submitted by the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara in 2016, and in coordination with the rest of the Arab countries, has succeeded in presenting a pioneering initiative to grant the Arabic novel its place on the Arab and world cultural scene in general. This is the result of the adoption of the World Novel Week at the meeting of the Executive Board of Unesco at its 112th session and by the General Conference of Unesco at its 41st session, which took place held in November last year. There will be an annual celebration from October 13 to 20 with storytellers and novels in its various genres, subjects, purposes and books.
Dr. Amar pointed out that this occasion is an opportunity worldwide to spread the values ​​of tolerance, peace and coexistence and to promote human creativity in this area, especially by introducing what is rich in Arab civilization and highlighting it to all humanity, explaining that the organization has started preparing for this week by communicating with all those interested in this field in all Arab countries. The idea is to adopt a theme for each session, and that the first session be a common Arab celebration, while leaving the initiative to each Arab country to celebrate in its own way.
He pointed out that the question of Palestine and its heritage is present in all the activities, programs and conferences organized by Alecso, in particular with regard to the cultural aspect and the mobilization of support for it, as well as by devoting a session to the Conference on Archeology and Cultural Heritage of Palestinian Heritage as well as with regard to the meetings of the Observatory of Urban and Architectural Heritage in the Arab States, the fifth meeting of which was devoted to the theme of the preservation of cities of human heritage in danger the City of Jerusalem.
He added that the 40th meeting of the Committee of Arab Experts on World Cultural and Natural Heritage was devoted to the study of Arab files inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, during which special attention was paid to the dossier of Jerusalem: the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls.
Dr. Amar also called for the need to assess the course of Arab cultural work during the period of the coronavirus pandemic and to propose an Arab cultural project that brings dynamic confrontations and responds to the challenges facing common Arab cultural work.
“We need a project that provides solutions and supports the exchange of experiences and successful experiences in the field of cultural sectors between Arab countries and takes advantage of this to achieve a sustainable recovery of local economies based on the creativity,” he said.
He noted that the organization is currently working with specialized agencies in Arab countries to implement this project according to the needs expressed by the countries, underlining the vital and decisive role of culture in times of crisis, because culture strengthens sense of belonging to human society and gives meaning to humanity and civilizational values.
Dr. Amar explained that Alecso had developed a joint Arab cultural project during the coronavirus crisis to strengthen the professional and practical capacities of operators and workers in the field of culture and heritage in Arab countries in order to support security. of culture and heritage workers. sector, and to strengthen the capacities of individuals and small cultural institutions to face the challenges of the current crisis.
The project offers a wide range of activities, including capacity building, networking and coaching, structuring cultural institutions and mentoring small and emerging institutions in the field of culture and heritage, noting that this project came after the culture and creativity sector in Arab countries was exposed to significant financial losses in light of the coronavirus pandemic and increased unemployment rates among creators, technicians, employees and workers associated with these sectors.
Dr. Amar noted that Arab countries have adopted varied policies to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic and its negative effects on the cultural and creative sectors, considering that most of these policies and measures were not sufficient to save these sectors and contain the repercussions of the pandemic. pandemic, and therefore it is not possible to measure the reflection of the projects on the current cultural situation and to verify its results before the completion of the approved executive program for the current year.
A report will be presented on the progress of the realization of the projects and what it has been achieved during the next conference of ministers responsible for cultural affairs of the Arab world, which will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in next December.
He stressed that the organization has been working since its inception to strengthen the cultural unity of the Arab nation by valuing the cultural commons, in particular the Arab language and cultural heritage, seeking to support the common Arab cultural action. and by coordinating cultural programs in Arab countries with the development of a national plan to achieve integration between cultural and media policies, through several mechanisms.
The most important of these are: the faithful implementation of all the recommendations and projects issued by the conferences of ministers responsible for cultural affairs in the Arab world and those issued by the Arab Conference on Cultural Heritage.
He pointed out that one of the most important mechanisms of Arab cultural integration is the launch of the common Arab cultural market to allow free exchange of cultural goods and products, increase participation in activities and events, and freedom of movement. intellectuals, creators and artists among the participating countries, in addition to the Creative Arab Cities Network project, which is considered a great opportunity to confirm the role of the Arab city as a stimulating space for creativity and sustainable development .
He stressed the importance of the role of cultural industries and the creative economy in achieving development goals, as statistics indicate that cultural and creative industries are the fastest growing in the world and are an option of sustainable development, and that cultural industries and the creative economy constitute a green industry that contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Arab countries, stressing that the organization is currently working on the development of an Arab plan term to advance cultural industries and the creative economy sector in Arab countries and use it in the service of sustainable human development goals, and to set an indicator, the first of its kind, which determines the contribution of cultural industries and creative economy to the GDP of Arab countries.
Dr. Amar explained that the objectives, principles and projects of the Arab Decade of Cultural Law (2018-2027), which was signed in Tunisia in June 2018, constitute a framework for joint Arab action to develop culture and the employ in development and support the economy. growth through the development of creative industries.
He underlined that this decade, which extends over ten years, represents an opportunity for the Arab countries to think more, to reflect and to deepen their consideration of “cultural law” as a fundamental and future challenge for our countries in order to restructure cultural institutions and provide cultural service. closer to the Arab citizen.

Irene B. Bowles