Tunisia: Members of Scientific Council of 'Beit Al-Hikma' Take Office

Carthage — Members of the Scientific Council of the Tunisian Academy of Science, Letters and Arts "Beit al-Hikma" took office, Saturday, at a ceremony held in the seat of the Academy in Carthage, in the presence of Caretaker President Moncef Marzouki, National Constituent Assembly Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar and Interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.

The ceremony was also attended by several Ministers and Ambassadors and a host of researchers and culture people.

In his address, Dr. Hichem Djait, President of Beit al-Hikma said the scientific council of the academy was established thirty years ago but was effectively implemented only after the Revolution thanks to a renewed vision of the future of knowledge and culture.

He said the message of Beit al-Hikma consists, particularly, in encouraging the spirit of research and disseminating the values of knowledge in society to contribute to Tunisia's radiation.

He announced the creation of the Beit al-Hikma prize in early 2013. This prize will be awarded to prominent literary, scientific and artistic works, he said.

Mr. Moncef Marzouki called on politicians not to marginalise culture.

The revolution with its liberating breath should be armed with values of knowledge without which no democratic regime can be established, stressed Mr. Marzouki.

He also said the Beit al-Hikma is a pillar of cultural construction in a context marked by profound changes.

For his part, Mr. Mustapha Ben Jaafar underlined that the scientific council of Beit al-Hikma should help make this institution a beacon of knowledge, citing, in particular, the literary debate, the development of dictionaries and encyclopedia and translation of works.

He also indicated that political reform cannot succeed unless it is accompanied by a deep and permanent cultural reform to establish a climate of freedom and respect for others, able to meet the challenges of globalisation and cultural standardisation.

In his address, Mr. Hamadi Jebali highlighted the huge challenges posed at the economic, social and cultural levels and which require giving a fresh impetus to knowledge and rehabilitating the place of academics in the Tunisian society.

He added that Beit al-Hikma which includes in its composition elite from the fields of education and culture will certainly contribute to the emergence of a renaissance free from any domination.

He said the Government plans to create an institution called "Ibn Khaldun Centre of Philosophical and Social Researches."

Mr. Hamadi Jebali also announced the Government's will to create institutions tasked with publishing and distributing works of scientists and creators and the creation of 25 prizes named after Tunisian scholars, writers and artists, covering the areas of natural science and mathematics, humanities, Islamic science, letters and arts.

Afterwards, the President of the Tunisian Academy of Science, Letters and Arts awarded the medals of Beit al-Hikma to members of the scientific council of this prestigious institution.

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