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Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research At the Opening of the Queen Dido-Elyssa International Conference Barcelo Hotel, 24 May 2010 Summary.

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Presentation on theme: "Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research At the Opening of the Queen Dido-Elyssa International Conference Barcelo Hotel, 24 May 2010 Summary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research At the Opening of the Queen Dido-Elyssa International Conference Barcelo Hotel, 24 May 2010 Summary of the Main Themes of the Speech by the Honorable Béchir Tekkari Under the Auspices of His Excellency the President of the Republic

2 In the Name of God Most Gracious, Most Merciful Professor Hassine Fantar, Holder of the Chair Ben Ali for Dialogue of Civilizations and Religions Professor Mohamed Sifi, Vice-President of the Tunisian Math Society Professor Houcine Chebli, President of the Virtual University of Tunis Professor Lotfi Hermi and Professor Najoua Gamara, organizers of the Dido conference Professor Frank Morgan, Vice-President of the American Mathematical Society Professor Evans Harrell, Associate Dean of College of Sciences at Georgia Tech The Honorable Professors from Tunisia and Friendly Countries—the US, Europe, and from Arab and Asian Countries Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen: I am happy to be with you at the occasion of the inauguration of the Queen Dido Conference—a conference celebrating Queen Dido-Elyssa, the foundress of Carthage and her geometric and mathematical legacy. This conference is held under the auspices of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali— in honor of science and scientists and in honor of the history of Tunisia—is to celebrate a timeless historical and scientific legacy—that of Queen Elyssa who gave human civilization a lasting historical and mathematical tradition which time and again has contributed to the development of sciences and mankind’s understanding of cosmic and natural phenomena, and whose legacy is still celebrated through his contribution to the understanding and purpose of the state and the reasons for its institutions.

3 At this occasion, I would like to welcome all the young researchers who are actively participating in this conference. I would like to especially thank the Professor from Chili, Professor Rafael Benguria for suggesting the holding of a conference about Queen Dido in her motherland. And I welcome you all to Tunisia, this cradle of civilizations, and wish you all a fruitful and joyful stay. I would like also to salute those who made this event a reality, and especially thank the U.S. National Science Foundation, the American Mathematical Society, the European Mathematical Society, the Swiss Mathematical Society, CIMPA and CNRS. I especially celebrate the presence of many young mathematicians in this conference

4 As you gather in Carthage today to discuss the isoperimetric heritage of Queen Elyssa, you find yourselves in the melting- pot of civilizations and cultures, for indeed Tunisia is country whose raison d’etre is that reaching out to the Other— immaterial of his race or creed. Tunisia is the heir of Carthage, and is indeed its historical extension. Tunisia is proud of its Arab-Islamic heritage but will always remain an open country, eager to establish brotherly links with the world and eager to establish scientific, technological and research ties with the world.

5 By holding this conference in Tunisia, you are celebrating the great leaders it has produced: Hannibal and the Berber Massinissa, as well as [the Fugitive Queen from Tyr] Dido You are also honoring [the 14 th century founder of sociology] Ibn Khaldun, who is a native of this land. Your presence here is a symbolic gesture in honor of Chemtou and Bulla Regia [cities where St. Augustine lived] and Sufetula [where decisive battles in the course of civilization have taken place]. These historical figures and these cities are a universal human heritage which have left their imprint on the course of universal human development.

6 Ladies and Gentlemen: The importance of such a conference stems from the fact that it allows us to strengthen our human and scientific ties with the world. They establish lasting scientific traditions. They also lay the path towards establishing future and exciting scientific partnerships between researchers and university professors who have common scientific interests, as well as multi-disciplinary programs. At the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, we encourage such endeavors. These partnership enrich our research grid.

7 We are eager to benefit from your expertise and look forward to learn from your experiences in your home countries. These partnerships bring us closer to international standards and allow us to both ward off some of the negative aspects of globalization, and diminish the technological gap. Given is that science and scientific knowledge are keys to gauge the advancement of any society, we have deemed that aggressively pursuing advancing scientific research should be one of our top priorities at the ministry. Just to give you an idea, 42.5 % of our specialized programs are curricula which focus on science and technology.

8 With this policy, we were able to establish preferential scientific partnerships with European universities We wish to expand these partnerships with universities in North and South America. Tunisia has made social and cultural choices which make its modern experience a unique experience in its surrounding and the world. Tunisia has made a choice to decentralize education and bring education to everyone, by bringing the university closer. Tunisia is becoming a literate society with a literacy rate of more than 90%.

9 These are part of the general spirit of reform that dominates the modern Tunisian experience which include the Women’s Code, a progressive code unique in the Arab and Islamic world in general Since the Change in 1987, President Ben Ali has made full partnership between man and woman a cornerstone of his political demarche. These political commitments are bearing fruit: 60 % of University students in Tunisia are women, 48 % of the educational cadre are women, and more than 50% of the medical staff in our hospitals are women. Your honoring Queen Dido with a conference is also honoring the modern Tunisian woman.

10 Tunisia is a progressive state actively advocating many liberal modernist views through certain progressive educational and social strategies providing a clear cut with reactionary views of the world which offer a realist reading of Universal Human History and the shared heritage of mankind. Ladies and Gentlemen… Surely Queen Dido founded Carthage and established a civilization which shined across the world at a certain stage Carthage was a queen star of a global empire. These are guiding lights that obviously are important symbols to give women the position they deserve in a society that traditionally denied her natural rights.

11 Such a conscious social decision, to give women their full legal and scientific rights, is a heritage of Dido that our Tunisian progressive reformers since the mid 18 th century, heirs to enterprising leaders such Dido-Elyssa and Hannibal Barca, have preserved. This progressive political decision has been a cornerstone of the political demarche of his Excellency President Ben Ali who worked tirelessly to women more rights for they are a central partner in creating a central balance in society and in creating stable sustained growth.

12 Again, I would like to salute all those who contributed to making this conference a reality, and those who are working hard to make it a successful one. And I reiterate welcoming our dear guests and wish them a good stay in Tunis, this “land of soothing companionship”, land of Carthage, land of Elyssa, land of tolerance, land of science. Thank you all, shukran! And peace be upon thee, and all the blessings of God.


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