Ibn Al-Haytham Shines in Mexico Closing Ceremony of International Year of Light

Rolando Zapata Bello, Governor of the State of Yucatán, Mexico (Photo: Courtesy Salvador Gutiérrez Niño)

1001 Inventions and UNESCO Celebrate Light

Mérida, 6 February 2016: The United Nations proclaimed International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL2015) was brought to an official close with a prestigious ceremony in Mérida, Mexico held on 4-6 February 2016. As a Founding Partner of IYL2015, 1001 Inventions actively participated at the Closing Ceremony celebrating light and its many applications in science and society with special tribute to 11th century scientist Ibn al-Haytham.

The high-profile ceremony brought together members of the international and scientific community with Nobel laureates, diplomats, decision-makers, science and industry leaders as well as artists from across the globe. The programme of the three-day event included enlightening keynote lectures, plenary talks and workshops covering areas of basic science, technology, development, lighting solutions in society, art and culture, the history of science, education and science policy. The ceremony served as a platform to discuss the achievements of the International Year and how it will continue its success in the future.

NewsNewsJohn Dudley, Chair of the International Year of Light Steering Committee (Photo: Courtesy Salvador Gutiérrez Niño)

The seminal achievements of the renowned 11th century scientist Ibn al-Haytham were cited in the message of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. Reference to the crucial role of Ibn al-Haytham and how his work in optics have had a lasting impact on the way we live our lives today was reiterated throughout the Closing Ceremony in talks by UNESCO and IYL2015 leaders as well as other eminent scientists and academics.

The year 2015 marks 1,000 years on the ground-breaking work of Ibn al-Haytham the Book of Optics (Kitab al-Manazir).  The pioneering scientific thinker has been widely celebrated during 2015 through the “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” global educational campaign and through other activities organised by diverse organisations around the world.

During the Inaugural Session John Dudley, Chair of the International Year of Light Steering Committee, was presented with the “Ibn Al-Haytham Award for Public Engagement with Science” on behalf of 1001 Inventions and the International Year of Light community.

NewsJohn Dudley, Chair of the International Year of Light  and Hanan Dowidar, Head of Strategic Partnerships of 1001 Inventions  (Photo: Courtesy Salvador Gutiérrez Niño)

Ahmed Salim, Producer and Director of 1001 Inventions, said:

The award recognizes John Dudley’s dedication, passion and outstanding achievements leading to the remarkable success of the International Year of Light. John was a driving force and key champion behind the extraordinary global campaign. 1001 Inventions is delighted to contribute to the successes of the International Year of light as we engaged with nearly 25 million people in 2015. We are now receiving massive interest around the world for Ibn Al-Haytham activities and accordingly we plan to continue our Year of Light projects in 2016 and beyond. Through our National Geographic children’s book on Ibn al-Haytham, the short film staring legendary actor Omar Sharif, the music album by the internationally acclaimed singer Sami Yusuf, in addition to interactive exhibits, hands-on workshops and learning materials we will further engage with the public continuing the legacy of the Year of Light.”

In the session titled ‘Science Education and Outreach through Light’, Hanan Dowidar, Head of Strategic Partnerships of 1001 Inventions said:

The success of the International Year of Light must be attributed to the collective efforts by the community that organised thousands of events in 2015 reaching millions of people all over the world. The power of the crowd enabled fantastic outreach to the public that is core to the success of the Year of Light. 1001 Inventions will continue engaging the public through the Ibn Al-Haytham educational campaign and we hope the community will maintain the momentum and the spirit of collaboration so together we continue to shine beyond 2015.”

NewsHanan Dowidar, Head of Strategic Partnerships of 1001 Inventions  (Photo: Courtesy Salvador Gutiérrez Niño)

The Closing Ceremony also included a film festival, art installations and an extensive outreach programme open to the public. The film festival included screening the short film “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” starring the late legendary actor Omar Sharif in his final cinematic appearance.

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About International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies

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 Abdus Salam 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 Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the lightsources.org International Network, the Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.


About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British based organization 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 five years, 1001 Inventions has engaged with over 200 million people across the globe. The organization works with a network of international partners, including UNESCO, and leading academics to produce interactive exhibits, short films, live shows, books and classroom learning materials that are being used by hundreds of thousands of educators around the world.

1001 Inventions is a founding partner of the United Nation’s proclaimed International Year of Light 2015.





NewsPhoto by Federico Nájera Febeles 




NewsPhotos: Courtesy Salvador Gutiérrez Niño

Movie Trailer The Album

Music Video The Book

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