Ismail Serageldin

Ismail Serageldin
Ismail Serageldin
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Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), the new Library of Alexandria, inaugurated in 2002, is currently, Emeritus Librarian, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Library of Alexandria. He serves as Chair or Member of a number of advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions and civil society efforts, including as co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC), and serves on the Advisory Committee of the World Social Science Report for 2013 and 2016, as well as the UNESCO-supported World Water Scenarios (2013) and the executive council of the Encyclopedia of Life (2010) and Chairs the Executive Council of the World Digital Library (2010). He also co-chaired the African Union’s high level panel for Biotechnology (2006) and again for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in 2012-2013, and was a member of the ICANN Panel for the review of the internet future (2013).

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Cultural ‘authenticity’ is neither national nor exclusive. Even Picasso and Gauguin drew richly on West African influences in their most distinctive creations, reminding us of the cosmopolitan spirit that underlies dynamic modern identities. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
How different these enlightened voices from the past sound compared to the frenetic ranting and condemnations of everything that is new and different that we see and hear everywhere in the Arab and Muslim worlds today History
How do we protect free speech, when it may well be seen by the majority of the population as something that undermines the “just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare…? Legislating against free speech is always dangerous. Worse, in some countries and contexts, lawsuits have been used to harass those who hold dissenting or contrarian views. Freedom & Liberty
How do you criticize corrupt public officials without attacking their honor or reputation? Freedom & Liberty
In the 19th century, some people looked at the condition of slavery and said that it was monstrous and unconscionable; that it must be abolished. ... Today the condition of hunger in a world of plenty is equally monstrous and unconscionable and it too must be abolished. We must become the 'new abolitionists'. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Incitement is a form of expression. How do we curb that without getting onto the slippery slope of curtailing all dissent and all troubling and contrarian speech? Freedom & Liberty
It is not enough to celebrate the earth and all its inhabitants, we must restore what we have destroyed. Environment & Environmentalism
Many of the wars this century were about oil, but those of the next century will be over water War & Peace
Muslim and Arab scientists ... took the torch and carried it for centuries, and if today the torch has passed to the West, we should be proud that we have done our share and more in earlier times, and should strive to take our place, by dint of hard work and innovation, alongside our Western colleagues at the forefront of the global endeavor to create a knowledge based, just and tolerant society. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Not every obnoxious talk leads to progress, but we cannot tell which unusual idea, which seditious thought will be tomorrow's accepted truth and enshrined right ... after all, all that we take for granted, was once deemed extremely objectionable... So, not knowing where the next big step in the progress of human civilization will come from, we open our ears, our minds and our hearts to the new, the unusual and the contrarian. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Science requires much more than money and projects. Science requires freedom: freedom to enquire, to challenge, to think, and to envision the unimagined. We must be able to question convention and arbitrate our disputes by the rules of evidence. It is the content of scientific work that matters, not the persons who produced it, regardless of the color of their skin, the god they choose to worship, the ethnic group they were born into, or their gender. These are the values of science, but even more, they are societal values worth defending, not just to promote the pursuit of science but to have a better and more humane society. Freedom & Liberty
The public does not necessarily want to hear, much less to act on unsettling or disturbing findings… censorship can be, and is frequently supported by the majority of the population. Freedom & Liberty
There is social intimidation by the self-appointed brigades of the thought police… they exist in every society, whether they are of the religious, nationalistic or atheistic variety. Dogmatists, who are convinced that they know better, that only the way they think is acceptable and who would deprive others of their right to hear differing and discordant voices.. They try to achieve this by either silencing the author or scaring away the public. Freedom & Liberty
We need a world where the values of science are celebrated: free inquiry, free speech and a healthy skepticism, all coupled with a sense of wonder, a respect for truth and an ability to reason. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
We promote pluralism, not dogma. We critique, we do not accept uncritically. We question and we debate, and over time we will separate the wheat from the chaff. We will separate the worthwhile from the misguided in all the new ideas and new voices that we hear. But we cannot do that if we close ourselves from the contrarian view, or simply suppress the views of those who would challenge the accepted and the known. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We who believe in democracy and in liberty are going to win. The statists and the Islamists are standing against the irrevocable march of history. Democracies & Republics ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
Women are not just victims of oppression or vectors of change. They are the artisans of social capital, that lattice of values that is the glue that holds societies together. It is they who repair the torn social fabric of communities in the difficult post-conflict situations. They are the custodians of values, who nurture these values in the next generation. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers