Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion (1001 Inventions in UK Parliament)

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Report on a conference launching the 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the UK House of Parliament, 15 October 2008.

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Report on a conference launching the 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the UK House of Parliament, 15 October 2008.

Between 13 and 17 October 2008, the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) organised two major events in London: a scaled down version of 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the House of Parliament (13-17 October) and a conference Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion at Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House, Westminster, London (15 October 2008).

The conference supported the "1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World" exhibition at UK Houses of Parliament from 13th -17th October and tackled 1000 years of amnesia of Muslim science and technology. Jim Knight MP, the UK Minister for Schools and Learning and Sir Roland Jackson, the Chief Executive of the British Association for the Advancement of Science addressed invited delegates at the ‘Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion' conference.

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Figure 2: View of The Palace of Westminster, seat of the Houses of Parliament in London, from the River Thames with the famous Big Ben and its clock on the right of the picture.

Presentations by leading academics and historians countered the 1000 years of historical amnesia which has ignored scientific and technological contributions from other cultures to our present civilization, thus creating a false sense of Euro-centric pride at the expense of other world cultures. The conference examined how addressing this situation can be used as a catalyst to help policymakers promote better cultural understanding and social cohesion today.

The conference Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion was intended to mark the 1001 inventions Exhibition at the House of Parliament: click here to see the announcement of the exhibition.

The conference moderated by Dr Rim Turkmani (Royal Society Research Fellow in Astronomy at University College London), and was attended by a dense audience. Among the attendees were several personalities. A particular mention should be made of the visit of Boris Johnson, the London Lord Mayor.

Figure 3: Jim Knight MP, the UK Minister for Schools and Learning addressing the audience (© FSTC2008).

Figure 4: Jim Knight MP and Salim Al-Hassani, with 1001 Inventions book (© FSTC 2008).

 

Figure 5: Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, with 1001 Inventions Exhibition representatives during his visit to the Exhibit at the House of Commons (© FSTC 2008).

Figure 6: Sir Roland Jackson, the Chief Executive of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Professor Al-Hassani and 1001 Inventions book (© FSTC 2008).

Figure 7: Salim Al-Hassani talking with Jim Knight, MP.

Figure 8: Lord Keith Bradley with Professor Al-Hassani (© FSTC 2008).

Figure 9: Peter Raymond, MBE Vice President, Parliamentary & Scientific Affairs Committee, Chairman of Muslim Heritage Awareness Group and FSTC Trustee, opening the conference (© FSTC 2008).

Figure 10: Professor Mohammed El-Gomati chairing the second session of the conference (© FSTC 2008).

Programme of the conference

The conference programme is itemised below:

Wednesday 15th of October 2008

14.30 Registration

15.00 - 16.00 First Session

Bettany Hughes

When the Moors Ruled in Europe

Prof. Jim Al-Khalili

Science and Rationalism in 9th Century Baghdad

Prof. Roshdi Rashed

Promoting Science-Based Cultural Dialogue Among Civilizations

Dr. Charles Savage

Standing Tall - Building upon our Common Heritages

Prof. Steve Hutchings

Centre for Muslim Civilization in our World

16.00 - 16.15 Coffee Break

16.15 - 17.20 Second Session

Prof. Salim Al-Hassani

1000 years Amnesia and the Identity Crisis

Michael H Morgan

Building Peace, by Recovering Lost History

Paul Keeler

Golden Web: The Interaction of Civilisations

Dr Suhair Qurashi

Muslim Women in Science

Ian Fenn

Curriculum Enrichment and Social Cohesion

Dr. Ian Griffin

The 1001 Inventions project as a vehicle to promote understanding and cohesion

18.00 - 19.00 Reception and speeches

Speeches from Jim Knight MP., the UK Minister for Schools and Learning and Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Speakers in the conference

Bettany Hughes: When the Moors Ruled in Europe

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Bettany Hughes is a historian and broadcaster and has a Visiting Research Fellowship at King's College. Her TV and Radio Programmes for Channel 4 and the BBC include Athens - the Truth About Democracy, When the Moors Ruled Europe, and Seven Ages of Britain. Her most recent book Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore has now been translated into ten languages. She is currently writing a book on Socrates.
Figure 11: Bettany Hughes giving the first speech in the conference (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Professor Jim Al-Khalili: Science and Rationalism in 9th Century Baghdad

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Jim Al-Khalili is a professor of physics at the University of Surrey, he also holds the first Surrey Chair in the Public Engagement of Science. Jim is the author of a number of popular science books and is a regular contributor to radio and television science programmes; he received the Royal Society's Michael Faraday medal and prize for science communication. He is Vice President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Jim received an OBE for services to physics at this year's Queen's Birthday Honours List. He is currently working on a new series for the BBC called Science and Islam and is writing a book on medieval Arabic science to be published by Penguin Press next year.

Figure 12: Professor Jim Al-Khalili addressing the conference (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Professor Roshdi Rashed*: Promoting Science-Based Cultural Dialogue Among Civilizations by Dr Anne-Maria Brennan

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Professor Roshdi Rashed: An internationally renowned, Paris based, historian of science who has made many significant contributions to the history of mathematics and science. He has been awarded many honorary degrees and prizes including the Légion d'Honneur from the president of France and Avicenna Gold Medal from the General Director of UNESCO, "for his contribution to recognition of Islamic culture as a part of universal scientific heritage and for promoting the dialog among different cultures". He has occupied various prestigious positions in international scientific organizations.

Figure 13: Dr Anne-Maria Brennan giving lecture of the paper sent by Professor Roshdi Rashed (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Dr Charles Savage: Standing Tall - Building upon our Common Heritages

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Dr. Charles Savage is the president of Knowledge Era Enterprising. He writes, consults and speaks widely in the United States, Asia and Europe. His book, Fifth Generation Management, has been widely acclaimed and translated into Japanese and Korean. Dr Savage works with managers and senior executives helping them to improving their knowledge strategy, organizational culture, market responsiveness and customer focus. He has a wide range of publications on management and knowledge leadership.

Figure 14: Dr Charles Savage presenting his lecture (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Professor Steve Hutchings: Centre for Muslim Civilisation in our world

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Stephen Hutchings is Professor of Russian Studies, Director of Research and Deputy Head of School at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, University of Manchester. He is currently Principal Investigator on a large 3-year grant project looking at European Television Representations of Islam as Security Threat in Russia, France and the UK. He recently hosted at Manchester an international conference on Representing Islam: Comparative Perspectives.

Figure 15: Professor Steve Hutchings lecturing in the conference (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Professor Salim Al-Hassani: 1000 years Amnesia and the Identity Crisis

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Previously Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manchester and currently professorial fellow in the School of Languages Linguistics and Cultures. He is an acknowledged world expert in his field and has received numerous awards. His special interest is the Muslim Scientific Heritage in our world. He is Chairman of the Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation, publisher of www.MuslimHeritage.com, and founder of the 1001 Inventions global education initiative. Chief Editor of more than 300 publications on Muslim Heritage including the ground breaking book 1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in our World.

Figure 16: Professor Salim Al-Hassani lecturing in the conference (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Michael H Morgan: Building Peace, by Recovering Lost History

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Award-winning former diplomat Michael Hamilton Morgan is both a novelist and nonfiction author. Morgan is also founder and President of New Foundations for Peace, a non-profit organisation created to teach leadership skills to young people worldwide. Among his works are Collision with History: the Search for John F. Kennedy's PT 109, a book and TV documentary and Lost history the Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers and Artists which has been widely acclaimed.

Figure 17: Michael Hamilton Morgan addressing the conference (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Paul Keeler: Golden web: The interaction of Civilisations

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Paul Keeler was the founder and Director of the World of Islam Festival that took place in London and the UK in 1976. The festival brought together all the major museums, libraries, universities, and learned societies engaged in Islamic studies in a great celebration of the arts and civilization of Islam. Paul Keeler is currently the Director of the Golden Web Foundation, which is engaged in developing a new kind of Web project dedicated to the study of the pre-modern Afro-Eurasian world.

Figure 18: Paul Keeler talking to the audience (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Dr Suhair Qurashi: Arab women in Science

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Dr. Suhair H. Al-Qurashi, the Dean of Dar Al-Hekma College, is a tireless promoter of education. She has created a group of competent, entrepreneurial women who are showing Saudi society that nothing will stop them. She holds three advanced degrees, including a doctorate and a masters in education from Cambridge.

Figure 19: Dr Suhair Qurashi lecturing on Arab women in Science during the conference (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Ian Fenn: Curriculum Enrichment and Social Cohesion

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Ian Fenn is the head of Burnage Art and Media College in Manchester. He is a trustee of FSTC and heads its Curriculum Enrichment programme.

Figure 20: Ian Fenn during his speech (© FSTC 2008).

 

 

Dr Ian Griffin: The 1001 Inventions exhibition as a vehicle to promote understanding and cohesion

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Dr Ian Griffin is Chief Executive of The Oxford Trust, Charity, founded by Sir Martin Wood to encourage the pursuit of science and enterprise in Oxfordshire. Prior to his present position, Ian served as Director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, which was the first organisation to stage the '1001 Inventions' exhibition in 2006.

Figure 21: Dr Ian Griffin addressing the conference (© FSTC 2008).

 

Conference venue:

Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House. Dean's Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ. For the PDF version of the conference programme, please click here.

FSTC has issued two press releases; they can be viewed here: Press Release 1 - Press Release 2.

Announcements of the conference Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion and the 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the House of Parliament were published also on the website of 1001 Inventions Initiative: click here and here.

The two events were announced on www.MuslimHeritage.com in Recent Features:
1001 Inventions at UK Houses of Parliament
Muslim Heritage in Our World: Social Cohesion.

Two albums of photos of both activities were published on Picasaweb. The albums can be viewed through the following links: Album 1Album 2.

For a list of personalities who attended the conference, visit: 1001 Inventions' Houses of Parliament Experience.

Figure 22: An FSTC-reconstructed model of Al-Jazari's Elephant Clock

Figure 23: View of the exhibition at the House of the Parliament, Westminster (© FSTC 2008).

Figure 24: General views of the audience at Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House, Westminster (© FSTC 2008).

For some media coverage, please visit:

* Professor Rashed was unable to attend the conference; a review of his speech was read by Dr Anne-Maria Brennan and the text of his speech handed out to audience.

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Figure 1: A Conceptual logo created by 1001 Inventions fan. The 1001 Inventions global initiative logo flanked by Big Ben. This logo is not belong to Muslimheritage.com nor FSTC orginisation.

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