It was in these terms that M. Mohamed Zinelabidine Minister of Cultural Affairs presented the event Tunis Capital of the Islamic Culture held on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at the Theater of Young Creators of the City of Culture in presence of M. Abdulaziz Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and a large number of national and foreign media representatives in addition to senior officials of the Ministry. The Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said on this occasion that Tunisia represents a unique example in the history of the Arab-Islamic civilization and has always been distinguished since the year 50 After the Hijra when Kairouan was built by Okba Ibn Nafaa.
Abdulaziz Altwaijri added that Tunisia is the land of creators of whom works are still existing through the various contributions improving the universal civilization and the development of a free and open society extremely rich in skills that have nothing to envy to those of the most developed countries.
M. Mohamed Zinelabidine, Minister of Cultural Affairs pointed out during this conference that the celebration of Tunis Capital of the Islamic Culture comes as part of a program of global action initiated by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and which has been promoted since 2016 when the presidency of the Congress of Arab Ministers of Culture was granted to Tunisia and continued throughout the following years with several meetings of the Arab ministers of culture during which Tunisia played an important role making of it a leading country in the defense of freedoms, the rights of authors, protection and promotion of the heritage and the innovative cultural economies. In this same context, the Minister of Cultural Affairs recalled the key role played by Tunisia on the regional level by heading in 2015 the 5 + 5 Summit of Ministers of Culture which made a great progress for the promotion of exchanges and cooperation in the Mediterranean.
“Being a country actor and committed to the development of synergies between peoples resulted in several international decisions including the choice of Tunis as capital of the Francophonie for the MENA region starting from next April”, added the Minister, pointing out that this movement has become a space for dialogue and exchange and a place of convergence for economic and financial cooperation policies.
“All the tributes accorded to Tunisia for its contribution to the enrichment of the human civilization and for its active role in spreading the culture of peace and respect for the other resulted in making it the heart of the Arab and Islamic world as capital of the Islamic culture, the modern thought, arts and creation, culture and aesthetics " said the Minister of Cultural Affairs.
The Minister underlined that the event “Tunis capital of the Islamic culture” is placed under the high patronage of the President of the Republic, M. Mohamed Beji Caied Essebsi and that its official opening on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at the Opera Theater of the City of Culture will be held in presence of M. Youssef Chahed, Head of the Government. During this press conference, M. Mohamed Hedi Jouini, General Director of the National Establishment for the Promotion of Festivals and Cultural and Artistic Events, presented the event to be held before the official opening, which will take place on March 20, 2019 at La Kasbah Square in Tunis.
Mohamed Hedi Jouni said that this will be open with a cultural tour through the Old Medina of Tunis with visits of several monuments including the Old Mosque “Ezzitouna” where the audience will attend a festival of sounds and lights.
This day will be ended at 20:00 with the big show "Ziara" by Sami Lajmi. The official opening of “Tunis Capital of the Islamic Culture” will take place on March 21, 2019 at the Opera Theater in presence of M. Youssef Chahed, Head of the Government with the spectacle "Dharwat El-Maali" a show performed by the Orchestra and Choir of the Opera of Tunis conducted by Hichem Amari, with an arrangement by Sami Ben Said and the participation of singers Maherzia Touil and Mohamed Aidi.
Conceived and directed by Slim Sanhaji, this show of 60 minutes, produced by the Opera Theater, is a reinterpretation of some of the most known Sufi songs performed with arrangements combining orchestral and traditional Sufi singing.
For his part Fawzi Mahfoudh Director General of the INP recalled that the celebration of Tunis as the capital of Islamic culture coincides with the celebration of 40 years of the registration of Tunis and Carthage on the list of universal humanity heritage of UNESCO, ten years since the celebration of Kairouan capital of Islamic culture and 63 years since the independence of Tunisia.
This gives this event a special festive and symbolic dimension.