EDUCATION First International Model of OIC engages young people By Maha Akeel Istanbul, Turkey - The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu gave the keynote speech at the International Conference of the First International Model of the OIC (IMOIC) on July 12, 2011 at the beautiful campus of Sabanci University on the outskirts of Istanbul. The Conference was organized by the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC), an affiliate institution of the OIC, in coordination with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for Civilization Studies and Dialogue of Cultures (CCSDC) of Cairo University. The IMOIC aims to bring awareness about the work of OIC to Muslim students, who came from over 30 countries to participate in this first conference. In this regard, there were earlier initiatives since 2006, the first being at the Cairo University and then in Azerbaijan, but the Conference in Istanbul was the first International Model of the OIC, which is hoped to be an annual event. In his speech the Secretary General gave a general overview of the history, objectives and functions of the OIC. He highlighted in particular the OIC Ten-Year Program of Action adopted in 2005 and what has been achieved so far in implementing it in various fields, the revised Charter endorsed in 2008, and the change of the name and logo of the OIC, which was adopted at the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Astana, Kazakhstan on June 28 -30, 2011. The 38th CFM also saw the birth of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC. Ihsanoglu stressed to the students that the OIC now stands to be a viable organization in the new map of the world that is shaping up. His next objective is to see a permanent seat of OIC at the UN Security Council (UNSC). “I hope within ten years, in the attempt to reform the UN, to have OIC seat at the UNSC as the representative of 1.5 48 the OIC Journal www.oic-oci.org June - August 2011 billion people.” The Conference was a timely event in bringing the youth of the Muslim world to discuss and address the issues of the Muslim world from their perspective. Ambassador Elshad Iskandarov, ICYFDC Secretary General, said that young people today stand at the center of transformation in the Muslim world. Dr. Pakynam Elsharkawy, Director of CCSDC, said: “The OIC has a privileged role in terms of being a moderator in current unrest and in the further development in the Islamic geography since the organization is legitimate and accepted by the states as well as their societies.” Kareem Mettwally, MOIC Egypt cofounder, expressed the opinion that the long-term success of the OIC depends on future generations. “Every young Muslim is an ambassador of faith, and responsible for peace and prosperity of his or her own country,” he added. During the five days of the conference, the students participated in training in three areas, namely, a study of OIC, its history, functions and philosophy; the agenda items of the OIC which touch on the hot current issues of the Muslim world; and a practical simulation of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers. The International MOIC (I MOIC) gave an opportunity for students to share experiences, knowledge, and being engaged in trans-cultural dialogue about socio-economic and political problems of the Muslim world. It encouraged youth to actively create and establish intercultural and interreligious dialogue. It also aimed to establish a network among Islamic universities with the help of established MOIC clubs in all 57 Member States of OIC that will serve the idea of strengthening intercultural dialogue and provide training in the field of international diplomacy. The students heard lectures from university professors and experts on various issues addressed by the OIC, including Jerusalem, post-Soviet countries, Islamophobia, international relations and democracy. The sessions saw lively debates and discussions of the issues. The conference was supervised by the “International MOIC Training Program” (IMTP), which is the project of internationalizing the student Models of OIC throughout the OIC universities, under supervision of the ICYF-DC and partnership of the CCSDC. The students received training in how to start MOIC, the organizational process of MOIC Club, and in the final stage, how to prepare for a conference, with a finale of simulating the Council of Foreign Ministers including drafting a resolution. The students trained on drafting resolutions on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla crisis and on the NagornoKarabakh conflict, while the finale was on the Libyan case.