UCLG-MEWA organized another episode of UCLG-MEWA Local Government Talks, with the Talk by Dr. Kamalin Shaath, former President of the Islamic University of Gaza, and Chairman of Hope Foundation for Education, on 23 October 2018, in its General Secretariat. Framing his Talk around the SDG 4 about “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”, Dr. Shaath shared his experience on the direct relation among three important concepts: sustainability, education, and waqfs.

 “The foundation for sustainability is education, and the foundation of education is waqfs. Without the waqfs, we cannot have a good and strong education, and without a good and strong education, our societies cannot be sustainable. Therefore, the foundation must be strong, namely, the waqfs, because it is waqs that support all projects and works that build education, from which sustainability is achieved.” said Dr. Shaath in his Talk. He added that education was not just one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but rather laying a foundation for the remaining 16 Goals, as the SDG 4 was the only goal that directly affected the rest of the Goals. “Without education, poverty and ignorance cannot be eradicated. Without education, diseases cannot be eradicated,” said Dr. Shaath. He also explained the stages of education at the Islamic University in Gaza, from the beginning of the establishment and the problems they faced from the Israeli occupation until it reached the strongest university in Palestine. He also talked about the types and forms of waqfs from ancient times to the present day, and that there was no private university that existed so far, unless there is a waqf providing financial support.

After the Q&A session; Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, spoke about the importance of education, highlighting the cruciality of waqfs, especially in Turkey. He further explained the rotation system in waqf ownership, which basically means to transfer it to other parties and then returning to the main owner. Secretary General Duman also added that with the distance learning system, a similar work can be carried out in Gaza, the West Bank and all countries in the MEWA Region, with the aim of exchanging experiences and spreading knowledge among local governments in the region. All 45 participants from Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and Turkey were invited to attend all the lectures of the organization to benefit and transfer experiences to the local governments in their countries.

At the end of the Talk, Secretary General Duman presented a commemorative plaque to Dr. Kamelin Shaath, and the program was concluded with souvenir photos with all participants.

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