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Closing Session

13:30 - 14:15

The Closing Statement

Dr. Sameer Habashnah

          Under the auspices of His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Third World Forum for the Culture of Just Peace, themed «Just Peace for Development» convened in Cairo from February 20th to 22nd, 2024. The Forum was organized by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation, in collaboration with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Culture.

          The Forum commemorated the late Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, who passed away in late 2023. Under his care and supervision, the Albabtain Cultural Foundation organized numerous seminars, intellectual discussions, and cultural events, reflecting the profound belief of its esteemed founder in the significance of culture for development. He was a unifier of hearts and minds, always receptive to ideas aimed at the welfare and goodness of humanity.

          Prominent leaders, academics, politicians, economists, media figures, and peace advocators participated in the Forum.

          The meeting in Cairo spanned three days, during which participants engaged in seven sessions addressing political, economic, and cultural issues relevant to development. There was a particular emphasis on the importance of peace for the stability of all countries worldwide, especially in the Arab region.

          Following discussions filled with a sense of responsibility, diligence, and an exploration of future ideas, the participants concluded with the following recommendations:

First, to send a letter of appreciation to His Excellency President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for his gracious patronage of the Forum, reflecting his appreciation for the benevolent efforts exerted by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation within the framework of a just peace culture.

Second, to commend the efforts of the late Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, who dedicated himself, time, and resources to championing Arab causes through an enlightened and unifying culture, and to appreciate the commendable efforts of his righteous offspring in continuing to serve the civilizational project initiated by their late father, may he rest in peace.

Third, achieving just peace requires genuine political development, contemporary determination, and harnessing modern technology to serve the public interest.

Fourth, the forefront of achieving just peace lies in enlightened, quality education that must be in line with the times. Therefore, prioritizing the younger generations and providing quality education with an open curriculum is imperative.

Fifth, the economy leads development, and the role of the private sector in advancing it is vital. Therefore, nurturing economic legislation, that stimulates this diversity and regulating it through enhancing a culture of saving and investment, and harnessing it for the benefit of the public, is crucial.

Sixth, culture plays a pivotal role amidst the prevailing circumstances, which are often clouded by misinformation that manipulates public opinion and incites conflicts that fragment societies, fueling bigotry, hatred, extremism, and violence. Therefore, fostering an open and tolerant culture that embraces diversity and believes in dialogue is imperative.

Seventh, the Palestinian cause remains central to the Arab world›s consciousness, and supporting it is a national duty. This entails efforts to unify the Palestinian leadership and liberate the Palestinian discourse from regional influences that undermine the cause. Additionally, we strongly condemn the genocidal war against the Palestinian Arab people unfolding before the world›s eyes in the Gaza Strip in recent months.

Eighth, we extend our salute to the efforts exerted by the Arab Republic of Egypt for its steadfast Arab stance, and we stand in solidarity with it as it grapples with economic constraints and political and international burdens resulting from the complex Arab and regional situation.











Speech on behalf of the Foreign Participants of the Forum

Dr. Eugene Rogan - the USA

Ladies and gentlemen,

It brings me great pleasure to be with you today.

I wish to express the warmest greetings of the Chancellor and the scholars of the University of Oxford, where the name of Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain will forevermore be connected through the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain-Laudian Professorship in Arabic, an event we celebrated three times with Abou Saud, so on behalf of my colleagues, I wish to remember the many happy meetings that we have had over the years here in Cairo, in Malta, in Denhag, in Brussels, in Oxford, but this time our joy is somewhat tempered, somewhat saddened by the absence of the founder, Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain.

The fact that he is not with us for this meeting, no matter how exciting this meeting has been, no matter how valuable the exchanges we have had, it is not the same without him here with us. I'm sure you've all felt the same, but each of us will depart this world one day. Each of us will return to our maker. We will be remembered by the mark that we leave on this world.

Through these meetings and the valuable work of his cultural foundation, the great work of Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain lives on and continues to advance his lifelong commitment to development through just peace.

In Cairo, we have taken meaningful steps to promote these noble goals through a dialogue between government officials, researchers, academics, intellectuals, journalists, linking the Arab world with its European neighbors, finding just solutions to shared challenges in the economy, in the environment, in technology, in society.

As we do so, I am particularly pleased that we have collectively had the opportunity to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Palestine and Gaza in particular, and in making our call for the restoration of peace and the fulfillment of their just and legitimate aspirations for self-determination.

So, this has been an immensely valuable meeting of which Abou Saud would have been very proud.

Meeting under the banner of the organization which bears his name, advancing his life's work, this is the best way we can honor his memory.

I thank you all.

I wish us all success, and I look forward to our next meeting.












Speech on behalf of the Arab Participants of the Forum

Mr. Abdullah Muhammad Ababtain - Saudi Arabia

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

All praise is due to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah.

Esteemed cousin, Saud Abdulaziz Albabtain, Chairman of the Board of Trustees,

Honorable guests,

Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you.

One of the most difficult moments for me personally is to stand here today having lost my dear beloved uncle, a man of his time, an extraordinary individual, and not have him before me now.

I always imagine his presence, envision his attendance, and recall our discussions over the past 35 years, in addition to our familial relationship before that.

Uncle Abdulaziz was a flourishing tree, nurtured and cultivated until it bore fruit. By the grace of Allah, it has continued its journey and completed the endeavor that Uncle Abdulaziz had pursued all these years.

Let me start with the family; he was extremely dedicated to our family. I have personal anecdotes that might be seen as self-critical when I recall them with him from years ago, specifically around the establishment of the family fund approximately 45 years ago, and the support provided by him, his brothers, and his sons. He was also deeply committed to our family's history and documents. Our communication was continuous in this regard because he knew of my passion for documents and manuscripts.

The flourishing tree has borne fruit, as evidenced by what stands before you. May Allah bless you all. This is one of the conferences advocating for peace—peace not just for Kuwait or the Arab world, but global peace in its entirety.

The mission he lived for and continued to pursue has, by the grace of Allah Almighty, borne fruit.

In addition to that, he was dedicated to education, sponsoring scholarships to various countries and universities around the world, especially Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He covered all expenses from airfare, accommodation, education, and salaries to the return journey—everything. This flourishing tree bore fruit as some of these students returned and assumed positions of leadership, including ministers and prime ministers in both the East and the West.

He was also passionate about poetry and used his wealth generously in this regard. He would say, "Ya Abdullah, I have placed money under my feet, not above my head." May Allah have mercy on you, Abdulaziz.

He collected poetry from poets of the pre-Islamic era, the prophetic period, the era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them), the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, and up to the present day, encompassing works from over 8,000 poets from various parts of the world. These collections were compiled into encyclopedias. As my brother Saud mentioned yesterday, "Uncle, these are encyclopedias, not just one encyclopedia," and he named them after his family: Albabtain Encyclopedias.

There are many events and experiences between him and me, and it is truly difficult to confine our discussion to just seven minutes. However, we entrust our complaints to Allah. In concluding this speech, we pray that Allah grants success to his brothers, Uncle Abdulatif, Uncle Abdulwahab, and Uncle Abdulkarim, who have significantly contributed to many charitable and cultural projects. We also ask Allah to bless our cousin Saud, his brothers, and his grandchildren, for they are the continuation of this blessed tree.

May Allah protect everyone and reward you all with goodness.

Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you.
















Dr. Hisham Azmi - Egypt

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

His Excellency Saud Abdulaziz Albabtain, President of the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening to you all,

Allow me to begin by conveying to you the greetings of Her Excellency, the Minister of Culture, Dr. Nevine El-Kilany, who is unable to be with us today due to the convening of the Cabinet meeting.

And so the days swiftly pass... Just recently, we gathered for the opening of this important world forum. This forum, which we were delighted and honored to host in the land of Egypt, the heart of Arabism, a cradle of thought, culture, and arts throughout its history. In the enchanting city of Cairo, we were pleased to host esteemed guests who came from far and wide in response to the gracious invitation extended by a prestigious cultural institution bearing a great name: Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain. The late, esteemed figure whose loss is mourned not only in Kuwait but throughout the entire Arab world. The great departed, who worked tirelessly and diligently for the elevation of Arab culture across the globe.

We are well aware of the special place that Egypt held in the heart of Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than his desire for this third forum to commence in Cairo. We are immensely pleased that this desire has been realized, with the forum achieving great success, marked by remarkable attendance and distinction unanimously acknowledged by the participants.

Ladies and gentlemen, I speak to you with utmost sincerity when I say that, during the preparation period for the forum, I personally observed the meticulous care and attention to detail exhibited by our brothers at the Albabtain Foundation. This reassures us that the foundation is in capable hands and that the heirs and siblings of the Albabtain family, under the leadership of His Excellency Saud Abdulaziz Albabtain, will maintain its esteemed status and leadership, as envisioned by its founder and patron.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we gather to conclude the activities of the Third World Forum for the Culture of Just Peace. Over the past three days, sessions were held featuring numerous valuable contributions and perspectives from distinguished figures, as well as various proposals and discussions. Opinions were diverse, with agreements and disagreements, but they all converged on one fundamental point: there can be no peace without development, and no development without peace.

The past few days have revealed a genuine desire among all forum participants for peace to prevail worldwide. However, the peace we aspire to is a just peace—a peace that grants everyone their rightful dues. It is a peace based on single standards, not double standards. A peace where individuals are not deprived of their most basic rights to live with dignity, free from oppression or degradation. A peace where peoples do not face genocide or forced displacement. A peace free from religious or ethnic discrimination. A peace not subject to the whims of major powers imposing their control and will on the world. A peace where nations adhere to the will of their peoples, as is evident in streets and squares around the globe. A peace that respects international treaties and conventions, ensuring they are not just ink on paper. Finally, it is a peace that respects human rights simply because they are human.

Distinguished guests,

Over the past days, the conference sessions have covered various aspects of peace—political, economic, institutional, and others. Despite the immense importance of these dimensions, it was notable that the majority of opinions converged on the significance of the cultural aspect, recognizing the pivotal role that culture can play in this field.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, culture plays a crucial role in achieving peace and development in society. In its broadest sense, culture encompasses values, beliefs, norms, customs, traditions, and shared practices among a group of people. Cultural understanding and appreciation can foster mutual respect, tolerance, and cooperation among people from diverse backgrounds, thereby promoting peace and development. Preserving and promoting culture can also contribute to sustainable development by respecting and valuing a community's heritage. Furthermore, cultural exchange and cooperation can stimulate innovation, creativity, and learning, which are essential for development. Therefore, culture can be a powerful tool for achieving peace and development.

We believe in the role of culture in promoting a culture of peace through arts, literature, cinema, and music, which contribute to raising awareness about the importance of peace, respect for human rights, and peaceful coexistence among different cultures.

In this context, I would like to highlight the numerous challenges currently facing Arab cultural development. Allow me to briefly outline the most significant ones.

First: Challenges of Globalization and Social Media: There is no doubt that the phenomenon of globalization, technological advancement, and the proliferation of social media have deepened this crisis, compelling people to reconsider their national identity and pushing governments to safeguard their populations with awareness against external intrusions and internal factions with subnational agendas, often at the expense of a comprehensive national identity.

The vast amount of information continuously received by users of social media platforms has led to a state of "schizophrenia" among them. Additionally, the content disseminated through these channels contributes to a state of fluctuation between lived reality and virtual experiences, as well as a conflict between holding onto cultural identity and succumbing to calls for detachment from societal values and norms, and being greatly influenced by the content being broadcast, often without adapting it to the specificity of their society and culture.

Adding to the complexity is the emergence of the new virtual environment, the Metaverse, with all its associated threats and challenges in various cultural, social, technological, economic, political, and legal aspects. This necessitates taking a series of measures to empower and immunize young people to engage consciously with this new phenomenon.

Secondly: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), especially Artificial Intelligence (AI), bring significant and influential effects on cultural and creative industries.

Thirdly, the challenges of the Arabic language: Culture and language are inherently intertwined, and it is impossible to separate them. The state of the Arabic language in recent years is well-known, as it faces issues that have led to a kind of internal alienation within its own lands. Moreover, the neglect it suffers at many levels, especially among the new generations, is evident. Some of these youths have mastered foreign languages flawlessly while rarely speaking Arabic or not speaking it at all. In some cases, speaking Arabic is even considered a stigma by their peers.

The reality of the decline in the use of the Arabic language, especially among young people, particularly those studying in foreign and international schools, raises significant concerns regarding their ability to engage with cultural products in all their forms and types. The prevalent use of foreign languages in these environments, at the expense of Arabic, has not only affected the formal language but also colloquial Arabic. Consequently, this linguistic shift has led to an increased preference among these youth for foreign cultural products, including literature, music, and entertainment, further distancing them from Arabic cultural heritage.

This underscores the necessity of implementing a set of measures and actions to preserve and promote the Arabic language, increase awareness of its importance, and encourage its usage. It's also crucial to emphasize that the focus on the importance of using the Arabic language does not in any way contradict the significance of studying foreign languages, but rather complements it. Mastering the Arabic languages is essential as it serves as a key to communication with other societies and cultures.

In this context, I call for the organization of urgent forums and gatherings at the Arab level through cultural institutions to address these challenges by monitoring, analyzing, and attempting to take measures and actions to prevent any encroachment on Arab cultural identity, especially among youth.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In conclusion, it is our pleasure and honor to extend our sincere thanks and great appreciation to His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for his gracious patronage of this celebration. I would also like to thank Professor Nevine El-Kilany for her kind follow-up and supervision over the past three months.

Additionally, I wish to express my gratitude to my colleagues at the Supreme Council of Culture for their efforts, including Wael Hussein and Ibrahim Hussein – Public Relations and Media – and the office of the Secretary-General.

And a final salute of esteem to our brethren at Abdulaziz Albabtain Foundation... We have been pleased and honored by your presence and look forward to further fruitful cooperation in the future.

With sincere thanks and appreciation to you all...

Peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.












Mr. Saud Abdulaziz Albabtain

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, and peace and blessings be upon all the prophets and messengers,

Esteemed dignitaries,

Honorable attendees.

Peace be upon you, and may the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you.

I am pleased to begin by thanking you for accepting the invitation from the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation to attend the Third World Forum for the Culture of Just Peace. I commend your active participation and rich contributions, as well as the valuable ideas, useful experiences, and constructive suggestions you have presented during the forum sessions, all aimed at sustainable development in various fields and directions.

Dear friends,

This is the first event held by the Foundation after the passing of its president, patron, and founder, my late father, the poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, may Allah have mercy on him. He was always at the forefront of those who believed in the power of culture and peace to enhance human life, correct their distorted perceptions, and redirect their misguided paths. He spared no effort in promoting the culture of just peace and making it an essential requirement of education at all levels, as affirmed at the first forum in The Hague in 2019. Furthermore, he advocated for empowering it under the umbrella of wise leadership worldwide, as urged at the Second Forum in Malta in 2022. This is so that the sincere efforts exerted by human elites in politics, thought, economics, culture, and media find their way toward achieving sustainable development for human life on earth, as you are calling for today at the Third Forum in Cairo.

In this context, I am pleased to extend, on behalf of myself and all my colleagues on the Board of Trustees of the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation, our sincere thanks, appreciation, and gratitude to His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for graciously sponsoring this forum. I also extend our gratitude to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the Supreme Council of Culture for their fruitful cooperation, which has been one of the main reasons for the success of this Forum. I hope that this Forum will be among the noble efforts contributing to the advancement and elevation of humanity.

Dear participants,

We all agree that the reality we live in sometimes does not offer us the hope we desire. However, I speak to you on behalf of many people everywhere when I say that we believe in the nobility of your principles, trust in the sincerity of your intentions, and appreciate your diligent efforts to promote the values of freedom, dialogue, understanding, and participation in building a better future, in which we together reap the fruits of sincere calls for peace.

In conclusion, and from this platform raised for peace, I would like to extend a sincere call to world leaders everywhere:

Exert all possible efforts to end the ongoing hell in the Gaza Strip.

The common people everywhere wonder how decision-makers, rulers, and leaders can go about their daily lives while witnessing the horrific war of extermination taking place before the eyes and ears of the world, targeting innocent civilians in Gaza.

How can you enjoy your meals with your children while hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza cannot find anything to silence their hunger?

How can you revel in the warmth of your homes while hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s children are homeless, exposed to the elements without shelter or cover? With the cold piercing their bodies, and with them filled with fear from the sound of bullets, explosions, and shells.

O world leaders, we appeal to your consciences with a sincere plea: history will not forgive those who err against humanity. The opportunity still exists for you to take serious steps towards the right path.

Stop this war. 

Stop this war. 

Stop this war.

May God guide you, and peace be upon you all.



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