“The Great Steppe” 2nd Social Sciences Forum Organized by International Turkic Academy (TWESCO) at Astana- Kazakhstan (May 26, 2017)

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The 2nd  Social Sciences Forum “The Great Steppe” was organized by Turkic World Educational and Scientific Cooperation Organization (TWESCO), also known as "International Turkic Academy" in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 26, 2017. The Forum brought together renowned scholars of Turkic history and culture, prominent statesmen, ambassadors and diplomats, as well as the executives of International organizations, to discuss the significance of cultural values of Eurasian and Turkic nations in the development of human civilization. The major objectives of holding this forum were, to find answers to pressing issues of the contemporary world, to accentuate the growing significance of the Turkic world in international arena and to provide a platform for discussion and communication and dialogue between renowned scholars who conduct systematic research on various aspects of ancient and contemporary Turkic World.

President ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro was specially invited to attend the Forum and he was amongst the main speakers of the event. More than 200 scientists and researchers from Turkic-speaking countries, the United States, Germany, Japan, China, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and other countries of the world joined the forum and shared their views and contributed to various panel discussions and technical sessions of the forum. It is pertinent to mention that ECOSF and TWESCO are collaborators and partners in promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation in the ECO Region.

The Secretary of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan Ms. Gulshara Abdykalykova was the Chief Guest and opened the forum. The President of TWESCO, Dr. Darkhan Kydyrali welcomed the guests and speakers from around the Turkic World. President ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, in his protocol speech welcomed all the guests and congratulated TWESCO for organizing this forum on very important theme focusing on Turkic History and Culture. Prof. Soomro stressed for the need to learn and study about human civilizations so that one should develop an in-depth understanding about who we are and how we have evolved to the present day. Prof. Dr. Soomro appreciated the opportunity to have read a great and very thoughtful article written by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, which emphasized on modernization of a nation but at the same time it stimulated that a nation should not detatch itself from its original roots and rather one should nurture deep sense of connection to the human civilization, history and heritage. Prof. Soomro fully endorsed the idea by H.E. President Nursultan Nazarbayev which emphasized spiritual modernization of a nation with particularly emphasis on political and economic modernization. “One must have a clear understanding that this process of modernization will be futile if we cannot preserve our culture and national identity”, he further added.

Prof. Soomro also extended special invitation to TWESCO and Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) to join hands with ECOSF and partners in an International Forum on Science Education in Beijing from 3-5 July 2017.He encouraged all participants of the forum especially the curriculum design experts and Historians of Science Education to participate in the International Forum and share their thoughts and experiences about the Fusion of Civilizations. Prof. Soomro assured full support of ECOSF to TWESCO and other international partners in promotion of scientific research and technology to pursue the knowledge based economic development in the ECO Region. Later, Director of the International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS) by the UNESCO Mr. Pilho Pak and President of the Turkish History Society Mr. Refik Turan delivered their welcome remarks.

Later during the Technical Session “Cult of Science: Scientific Integration and Common Values”, Prof. Soomro made his Speech on “Historical Contributions of Ottomans and Safavids to Science and Technology”. Prof. Soomro highlighted how remarkable were the contributions made by Ottomans and Safavids in bringing new innovations and developments in the field of military, water resource management and infrastructure development. Prof. Soomro said that contribution by Ottomans to Science and Technology serves as the foundation for a number of modern engineering and technological applications. Prof. Soomro also touched upon the scientific culture that had developed during the Golden Age of Islam and Ottoman period. This particular culture had established the scientific heritage of the present-day Turkey and it was at the core of major scientific achievements in the west in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, engineering and architecture, he further added.

While focusing on the Golden Age of Islam he said that we had ground-breaking discoveries in the Golden Age of Islam that encompassed outstanding scientific discoveries in Samarkand, Bukhara, Persia and Turkey and the Maghreb. He said that 'through the ancient Silk Road, Islamic discoveries interacted with the civilizations in the Indian subcontinent and China in the East'. Prof. Soomro stressed over the need that our younger generation must be taught about our common heritage and civilization to rediscover their common humanity and promote peace and harmony.

Prof. Soomro further contemplated over the massive scale of past contribution to Science and Technology by Ottomans, and encouraged all the historians to reflect on what must have changed or what must have been decisive factors that led to discontinuity or slowdown of scientific activity in the Muslim world. Thus he encouraged researchers, particularly the historians to further analyze the factors responsible for the reduced activity in science, technology and innovation by our region.

Prof. Dr. Soomro shared that ECOSF with its global partners; Inter-Academy Partnership Science Education Programme (IAP SEP) and Chinese Association for Science and Technology (CAST) are atttempting to design a curriculum for schools with a theme; “Fusion of Civilizations” which engages Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) methodology and focuses on the history of science education along the “Belt and Road” initiative of China. This unique curriculum will focus on S&T in the Golden Age and how by its ethos of knowledge acquisition and sparked the European Renaissance, as well as draw from the Chinese Ancient Civilization. To achieve this, ECOSF and partners are organizing an International Forum on Science Education in Beijing on 3-5 July 2017, Prof. Soomro informed. In the end, Prof. Soomro encouraged all the historians and scholars to contribute towards the 'Fusion of Civilization' and development of a school curriculum to tranfrom our children to be more reponsible and peace-loving global citiziens of the future.

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