H.E. Dr. ABDELOUAHED BELKZIZ the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the Organization’s Assistant Secretaries General and Heads of Departments
Jeddah, 16 January 2001
Bismillahi Rahman Ar-Rahim
Distinguished Assistant Secretaries General, Honourable directors,
It is for me a matter of distinct pleasure to be meeting today with this panel of distinguished cadres of the OIC . I welcome you all to this initial meeting through which I hope that we may get acquainted with each other and engage in some brief review of your departments’ work.
Let me begin by assuring you of my keen desire to follow closely and directly the work of each senior official and director, mindful of the fact that the various departments form this Organization’s real production tools. I similarly wish to reassure you of my eagerness to open a new page of real and diligent cooperation between the General Secretariat’s Cabinet and all the departments, in accordance with a well-defined plan whose details we shall examine together in coming meetings, Insha Allah, with a view to taking best advantage of each department’s action, such as to enable our Organization to fulfill the mission assigned to it, in an optimal manner. All of this falls within the framework of the trust I have in each one of you, with the full confidence that your competencies, which I personally appreciate, will, over time, increase in depth and breadth.
It is a matter of common knowledge that the advent of the new millennium carries within its fold harbingers of a wide range of crucial and pivotal developments as to the course to be followed in public issues worldwide and at all political, economic, cultural and other levels in a way that exceeds all that was witnessed in the past, as a result of universal civilizational accumulations which encompassed all walks of human life on this terrestrial planet of ours along with all the spectacular scientific and technological developments, industrial and cybernetic revolutions that have been witnessed and that have ushered in radical transformations on the patterns, modalities and mechanisms of human life, some of which fall within the framework of what is known today as the globalization phenomenon whose effects have been the subject of extensive discussions at the ministerial meeting held in Kuala Lumpur last year.
I have started, your honours, with these preliminary remarks to say that we are living in a new epoch which calls for the adoption of new living ways, new and forward ideas, and modern advanced tools, bearing in mind the world evolution around us. If we fail to do this the gap between us and the others sharing this planet earth with us and who have preceded us to the speeding bandwagon of civilization by so much that it makes it rather difficult for us to catch up with them. Were we to fail in catching up, God forbid, our backwardness and regression would get further exacerbated, a fact which we wish neither for our present generation nor for our posterity, particularly that Islamic civilization had been in the centuries before the European advancement, the leading world civilization for many Centuries. It used to be at the vanguard of universal progress in the fields of intellect, science, technology, etc. Today’s reality of the Islamic world points – quite regrettably – to a status that is entirely different from what used to be, as our Islamic world has entered an episode of backwardness for reasons which we have no room here to expound on. It is auspicious however to note that the Islamic world has stabilized today and is now groping for development and even reaching out to the aspired Islamic resurgence, a resurgence which is intellectual, political, economic and social at once.
Praise be to the Lord that the components necessary for such a resurgence are readily available to our Ummah, in terms of human, intellectual, financial and economic resources, as Allah has graced the Islamic world with an outstanding and centrally strategic geographic position as well as with substantial financial resources coupled with significant human capacities rich in science, intellect, knowledge and technology such as to qualify our Islamic world to play a pioneering role at the world level, if only we see to it that investment opportunities are well taken advantage of—with the bonds of solidarity, mutual support and pertinent guidance.
Hence the role of this Organization which was set up over 30 years ago and has fulfilled for the Muslim community, dispersed across the world, various centuries-old dreams, through the establishment of a tangible Islamic bond that brings them together, unifies their rank and seeks to achieve mutual support and solidarity among them, for their collective benefit and interest.
Hence also the role of each one of us in this Organization, each from his own responsible position, to carry out this noble historical mission placed upon our shoulders, with the aim of evolving a better tomorrow for the peoples of our Islamic Ummah, a tomorrow where prosperity, progress, social justice, dignity and honour will prevail for the Islamic Ummah which will be respected and reckoned with.
Every International Organization is in fact no more than the reflection of its Member States and of the human potential propelling its General Secretarial – every International Organization’s status is also dependent on its Member States’ will and readiness for collective action, observance of their commitments and unity of their rank. Indeed the collective resolve and the common denominators shared by the Member States form the Organization’s efficiency and it is to the extent that this collective resolve is achieved that the common action will be effective and impactful.
It is our duty, here in the General Secretariat, to mobilize the collective will of all, to strive to encourage and utilize that will in order to guide our collective endeavors to serve the interests and further the prosperity of the Islamic Ummah. Therefore, our work falls into two parts:
The first is to work to guide the thinking of member States to the common ground through the studies, reports, and guidelines we prepare that seek the common Islamic good, and the second is to take advantage of this common will, when consecrated through resolutions and recommendations, to carry out collective action in the interest of the Muslim collectivity.
It is for this reason that I believe that our duty lies in preparing our studies, reports, and guidelines in the General Secretariat as a matter of the highest priority, which must be completed according to the finest international standards by utilizing the competence and expertise that must be made available to the departments at all levels and in all fields to follow the example of other international organizations throughout the world, such as the United Nations, regional and continental organizations, or other international organizations specialized in the various avenues of public affairs.
Therefore, the human resources working at the General Secretariat must be qualified to carry out their duties in an outstanding distinguished manner that allows us to rise to the challenges and to connect with the mindset of the modern age, on the intellectual level, on the level of technical expertise, as well as on the level of the necessary practical experience. If this fails to materialize, the Organization is doomed to becoming outdated and antiquated by events. Time gives no quarter, and events will move ahead relentlessly, oblivious to those who lag behind.
This brings me to the need to emphasize the priority that must be given to preparing objective, systematic, and rigorous studies to assess the work of the departments, pinpointing their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and identifying what must be done in order to remedy the weaknesses through the daily on-the-job rehabilitation of the concerned staff or calling upon the experts who are to be recruited for the purposes of such rehabilitation, so as to enhance the professional performance of each department, as we turn a new leaf in the history of the Organization.
I fully realize that the task ahead is onerous and demands much patience, diligence, and time. However, it is work that must be done, if we are to discharge our duty as we should, and withstand the competition of other international organizations in this arena, and if we are to respond positively to the call of member States that have entrusted us with the task and that are still appealing to us, as they did during the recent Doha Summit, to rehabilitate the performance of the Organization. Such rehabilitation can only be achieved, as I’ve just explained, through an assessment and improvement of present work.
The Islamic world, praise be to Allah, is replete with young, competent, and enlightened expertise that is seasoned in the various fields of modern sciences and technologies as well as the various specializations of public affairs, and we must seize upon these resources and fully take advantage of them. By way of preparation for this task, I intend to request soon that each department complete a study that includes, inter alia:
– The terms of reference, mandate, and powers governing its work.
– The prescribed objectives for the work.
– A very brief report on previous achievements.
– Weaknesses and essential needs for progress to be achieved.
After such studies are completed, in no more than two months, we will look into each department separately and decide on the necessary rehabilitation.
In this context, I should also be grateful if each department would prepare a report, within two weeks, on the work it has completed with regard to the follow up of the resolutions of the recent Doha Summit so that we may take the necessary executive steps to implement the resolutions adopted at that Summit, which was a successful one by all accounts, and which gave joint Islamic action a new impetus in its march to achieve prosperity and abundance for the Islamic Ummah.
Dear Department directors,
To fulfill my mission, I have before me forty-eight months of work for this Organization of which I am honored to be the Secretary General. I am most anxious that these should be forty-eight months of continuous, planned, and programmed work that is organized into specific sectors of the Organization’s activities, according to prearranged schedules while taking into consideration what can be achieved, for example, within two months, two years, or four years.
In order to achieve such an objective, which seeks to develop the Organization’s work in all its fields of specialization, I am relying on you, on your cooperation and your support, each within his own field of expertise, to fulfill the mission that has been entrusted to us. I am already optimistic that you will not disappoint me, and that you will rise to the challenges that we must all face to reach our desired objective.
Let me once again remind you that you are the true effective apparatus, or more accurately the prime engine that propels this Organization. It is upon your work that the success or failure of this Organization hinges. That is why I appeal to you once again to exert even more efforts to carry out your duties to the best of your abilities so as to rise to the level of the aspirations of the Islamic Ummah and member States that are doing their best to provide the means whereby your work can be completed and expect us all to make every effort to enhance the performance of the Organization and therefore to enhance collective Islamic action at all political, economic, and social levels.
I feel duty-bound, in this, my first meeting with you, to pay tribute to the extensive support received by our Organization from the government of the headquarters State, the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Fahd ibn Abdulaziz, may Allah grant him safeguard, the Sovereign of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has adopted this Organization ever since its inception and provided it with the best support and assistance at all levels and is still eager to enable it to succeed and reach its objectives so that our glorious Islamic Ummah may be as Almighty Allah Glorified be He, described it, when He said: “You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind, prescribing good and proscribing evil”.
The Words of Allah are Truth.
Wassalamu Alyakum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuh.