UNESCO Announces 1001 Inventions Partnership


1000 Years of Arabic Optics to be a focus of the United Nations proclaimed ‘International Year of Light’ in 2015

SOURCE: UNESCO Official Announcement

Ibn Al-Haytham was a pioneering polymath from Basra (in modern-day Iraq) who lived in the 10th century and is often referred to as the ‘father of modern optics’. He made significant advancements in optics, mathematics and astronomy, and helped lay the foundations of the present day scientific experimental method.

His life and works will be the subject of several major initiatives during 2015, beginning at the Opening Ceremony of the International Year on 19 January 2015 at UNESCO HQ in Paris.  The Ceremony will see the launch of ‘1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham, a global campaign where UNESCO will partner with the science and cultural heritage organization 1001 Inventions to announce a series of interactive exhibits, workshops and live shows illustrating the world of this remarkable scientist.

Creative representation bust of Ibn al-Haytham
made by artist Ali Amro and commissioned
by 1001 Inventions for the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015

“I am pleased to partner with the International Organisation 1001 Inventions to launch the World of Ibn Al-Haytham Global Campaign, to promote light-science for the benefit of all,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova  “A ground-breaking scientist… from a thousand years ago, the life and work of Ibn Al-Haytham have never been as relevant as they are today.”

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Following the January launch, the campaign will roll out in countries around the world. Other initiatives to celebrate Ibn Al-Haytham include educational actions coordinated by a high-level Ibn-Al Haytham Working Group, and a dedicated conference and exhibition at UNESCO HQ starting on 14 September 2015 entitled The Islamic Golden Age of Science for the Knowledge-Based Society.  This conference will see experts in science, history and culture engage world leaders and the public with fascinating insights into the era of ground-breaking discoveries and innovations by scientists of different cultures and faiths who lived during that period of Muslim Civilisation over 1,000 years ago.

On 20 December 2013, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). This International Year has been the initiative of a large range of scientific bodies together with UNESCO, and will bring together many different stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British-based organisation that creates international educational campaigns and engaging transmedia productions aiming to raise awareness of the contributions to science, technology and culture from the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation.  Over the last decade, 1001 Inventions has engaged with over 200 million people across the globe, with educational campaigns in cities such as in LondonIstanbulNew YorkWashington DCLos AngelesKuala LumpurAbu Dhabi and Jeddah.  1001 Inventions works with a network of international partners and leading academics, and through its academic partner FSTC (UK), to produce world-class experiences, interactive exhibitsfeature films, live shows, books and classroom learning materials that are being used by hundreds of thousands of educators around the world.

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health. With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015 – from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today. The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the International Centre of Theoretical Physics ICTP. In addition to 1001 Inventions, the Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the lightsources.org International Network, The Optical Society (OSA).

Ahmed Salim UNESCO
Ahmed Salim
Delivering Opening Remarks for the United Nations proclaimed International Year of Light 2015
(UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, 19th January 2015)
(image copyright 1001 Inventions Ltd, released under free licence)

SOURCE: UNESCO Official Announcement
SOURCE: International Year of Light 2015 Official Announcement

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