۱. Conference Subject
Given the global context of Corona and the damage that this epidemic has had on a global scale, the subject of the conference, entitled “Islamic Cooperation in Facing Calamities and Disasters”, provided an opportunity for a variety of speakers to participate in the 34th International Islamic Unity Conference. This provided a platform for discussion not only for religious scholars but also for scholars of other sciences, and a wide range of scholars from various fields of the humanities, including the social sciences, psychology, and political science, had the opportunity to discuss. In addition, because the subject of the conference was related to a humanistic issue, this increased the share of participation in the conference and in its kind caused a change in holding and avoiding the recurring type of problems of previous conferences, so that both the diverse and new guests were able to attend the conference virtually and the various and new speakers took the conference form out of the previous monotony, and the repeated guests were included in a range of guests, invitees and speakers. At the same time, some important and current issues in the Islamic world were not overlooked in scientific meetings and specialized roundtables, and a worthy attention was paid to the important events of this year, such as the martyrdom of the eminent General of Islam Haj Qassem Soleimani and the lack of the jurist of Islamic proximity and unity, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, independently.
۲. Scientific work on the subject of the conference
The faculty of the conference wisely designed and compiled the seven axes of the conference in 55 sub-axes with special attention to the title of the conference and during numerous meetings and face-to-face discussions. So that every reader was thrilled by the variety of topics that could be raised. As an example, the seventh axis, namely, “The Cultural, Economic and Political Challenges of the West Facing the Coronavirus Pandemic” was compiled in 14 sub-axes:
⁕ Explaining the effects of the hegemony systems and arrogant powers’ decline and their mismanagement in the situation of Coronavirus pandemic;
⁕ Documentary narratives from the way the Islamic countries and the Western countries face with the Coronavirus phenomenon and expressing their differences;
⁕ Lessons and edifications of the experiences from the Western countries dealing with Coronavirus and the importance of implementation of these experiences in the situation of Coronavirus pandemic;
⁕ The economic problems in the situation of Coronavirus pandemic and how to deal with them in Western countries;
⁕ Weakening cultural activities in Western communities in the situation of Coronavirus outbreak and initiatives for replacing them in Islamic countries;
⁕ Evaluation of the systems based on individualistic liberal democracy in opposition to religious democracy in the Post-Corona world;
⁕ The impacts of Coronavirus phenomenon in governance evolutions in Western countries;
⁕ Cultural challenges in the Western countries (like collapsing the foundation of the family, the spread of corruption and addiction to alcohol and drugs) in facing the Coronavirus phenomenon;
⁕ Decline of liberal democracy model and capitalism in the new global geometry and the situation of Coronavirus outbreak;
⁕ Impact of the US decline in the situation of Coronavirus outbreak on the Unity of Islamic countries;
⁕ Feasibility study of more widespread intellectual and cultural presence of Islamic revolution in Western societies in the Post-Corona situation;
⁕ The international security and economic challenges in the world with the decline of the US in present situation;
⁕ The role of resistance axis in acceleration of the decline of the US hegemony in the Post-Corona world;
⁕ Zionist regime as the main calamity and suffering for the Islamic world and the ways to confront its threats;
۳. Improving the quality level of guests
Coordination for the presence of prominent political, religious and scientific figures in the conferences of previous years and the high costs of hosting them had led to many difficulties for the World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought. In addition, the impossibility of inviting all those who expected to attend the conference always created a kind of notoriety and pessimism among the wide audiences of the World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought. However, at the 34th Conference, the use of a new format for holding the conference solved many of these difficulties and paved the way for the presence of prominent figures far more than in previous years, in a way that some of the figures attended the conference for the first time.
۴. Opportunity to participate for those who did not use to attend
The new style of holding conferences in cyberspace has eliminated the justifications or excuses of some people who refused to attend previous conferences due to political or personal issues. This was one of the reasons why the participation in the 34th Conference was significantly increased, both quantitatively and qualitatively. We encountered a wave of acceptance of invitations that we did not initially expect. Due to the presence of prominent figures from 48 different Islamic countries, we witnessed a wide geographical diversity in the 34th conference.
۵. Diversity and multiplicity of speakers
One of the advantages of the 34th conference was that a large number of speakers were given the opportunity, something that was limited to a few speakers in previous conferences, and this always caused the distinguished guests of the conference to complain, asking for a few minutes to be considered for them to present themselves in the main event, but it was not possible. As mentioned, 237 foreign guests from 48 countries and 120 domestic guests spoke at the conference and presented their views on the issues of the Islamic world. There was an opportunity for each of the speakers to raise any important issues that they considered necessary. This gave all the guests the opportunity to speak for a short time (10 to 20 minutes). This was one of the major developments in the conference process as it transformed the audience from a mere passive listening to a combination of active speaking and listening.
۶. Diversity of the audience community
The breadth and diversity of the audience community has increased significantly compared to previous years due to the large number of foreign speakers, including the following statistics: Total number of users: 3941, Total number of active user sessions: 8118, Total number of pages visited: 35135. Visitors to the 34th International Islamic Unity Conference website are divided into two groups: frequent visitors with a 77% share and non-regular visitors with a 23% share.
۷. Upload lectures on the website and their lasting effects
Due to the large volume of lectures, which amounted to 4578 minutes, it was not possible to hear the lectures continuously due to the difference in the geographical time of the lectures. With the launch of the conference website, it was possible to listen to any of the speakers whenever the general audience of each speaker was ready. This has led to an amazing increase in the international ranking of the conference website. Since these lectures are still on the conference website, this novelty can be considered as one of the future developments in order to make the best use of the audience’s time and also to continue to improve the website’s ranking. The survival of the lectures on the conference website plays an important role in attracting future audiences for each speaker and increases the level of website visits. The collection of speech films collected during the conference will provide a vital capacity for advertising and fight against the arrogance, and their proper use will double the feedback of this fight. Also, re-reading the lectures and the possibility of judgment by the audience will improve the quality of the lectures in the future.
۸. Innovation in the way of holding for future years
Holding the 34th conference in a new way can be considered a very valuable achievement and a very valuable experience for holding future conferences. Because even with the elimination of the corona virus outbreak, the conference can be designed as a combination of face-to-face and virtual meetings in order to take advantage of the opportunity of face-to-face meetings and avoid the problems and obstacles of previous conferences. Combining the conference in person and virtually provides the Islamic world with the opportunity to engage a wide range of speakers and audiences throughout the Islamic world, regardless of transportation problems and time and space constraints, and to take fundamental steps towards the formation of a “Unified Islamic Nation” and the theory of the “Islamic Union”.
۹. Ability to evaluate and prioritize guests for future conferences
Because the lectures were recorded and playable on the Web site, it was possible for both conference attendees and audiences to accurately evaluate each lecture during the lectures. By implementing and summarizing the lectures, it was possible to consider the content and security considerations of the lectures before the broadcast and to avoid some of the problems we encountered in the online broadcast. The summary of the lectures is being uploaded to the website after editing.
۱۰. Participation of Sunnis and women
The International Islamic Unity Conference has always been a safe haven for Sunni brothers and women to participate in this great cultural event. The context of cyberspace and the way in which the 34th conference was held provided the ground for this presence to be realized on a much wider scale than in previous conferences.
۱۱. Influence on other institutions for a new style of holding conferences
Holding the Islamic Unity Conference will have a significant impact on the self-confidence of domestic institutions to hold specialized international conferences and meetings in the current context of Corona virus outbreak and will continue to do so in the future. The experience of the World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought in holding this style of conference can be a model for similar institutions and in the conditions of Corona virus outbreak constraints. Also, this type of holding became a kind of organizational mark (brand) and made the World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought an indicator among similar institutions. This style of holding can be continued in combination with the previous ways after removing the Corona virus outbreak.