“Enlightenment and modernity and the role of soft powers”
On 30 November 2019, in cooperation between ECFA and “the League of Arab States Friends’ Association”, Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran – Chairman of the Council, delivered a lecture on the enlightenment and modernity, at the Association’s headquarters in Mohandeseen, during which the two concepts were reviewed since the beginning of religions until the separation of the Church from the State, as well as the role of philosophers and scholars, and the role of state institutions in education, culture, media, universities, research councils and civil society organizations, each of which played an important role in the enlightenment and modernity.
The lecture tackled the following themes:
First: an introduction
Enlightenment in language:
In the “Lisan al-Arab” by Ibn Manzur and Al-Wasit dictionaries, it is stated that enlightenment is the time of the breaking of the dawn, illumination; being aware and educated. When added to prepositions, it means drawing on its rays, and being victorious. Light also refers to guidance to the right path by God, The Almighty, as in the Holy Quran.
Enlightenment as a term:
It is the general use of the human mind in all issues, and adopting the slogan: “There is no authority over the mind except the mind,” which is the courage to use the mind, and recognizing the human’s own ability to understand, analyze and legislate. The term enlightenment in modern Arab discourse refers in general to the movement of awareness, education, and modernization that took place in the Islamic world two centuries ago.
Modernity or modernization: The innovation and renewal of what is old, a term that appears in the cultural, intellectual and historical fields.
Dr. Zahran spoke about the beginning of modernity, how it is understood, its contemporary concept, and other details that can be found on ECFA website, under the section: Members’ Activities.