Arab League Educational cultural and Scientific Organization

ALECSO Projects Encyclopedia scientists and writers of Arabs and Muslims

Publicizing the Encyclopaedia

The Great Arab and Muslim Scholars and Writers Encyclopaedia is a scientific and cultural project run by ALECSO aiming at informing about the Arab nation's positive role in universal civilization and Arab-islamic culture's contribution in global human culture through registering outstanding Arab and Muslim scholars' and literary figures' achievements and heritage with proven blueprints in science or literature.

This project was preceded by the "Arab Encyclopaedia" project decided by Arab ministers of culture in their 1981 conference with an office in Bagdad and an executive body and an scientific board for its supervision. But the project was hindered by the difficult situation the region attended, especially the war context; which led to thinking of transferring its premises to Tunisia, ALECSO's headquarters country. ALECSO called for a preparatory meeting over the Encyclopaedia in April 1997 attended by experts who stated the importance of the project and laid down a general conception of it which the organization adopted. A scientific commission was formed to supervise it; and the commission held a second preparatory meeting in March 1998 the most important decisions of which were:

(1) Dividing the Encyclopaedia into specialized encyclopaedias to be compiled respectively, the first of which was "Arab and Muslim outstanding scholars" before expanding it to include literary writers in the commission's meeting in July 2001 under the title "Arab and Muslim outstanding scholars and writers" (which is its present denomination);

(2) Determining the historical period the Encyclopaedia should cover fixed between the beginnings of Islam and the late 20th century. The fifth Commission's meeting added the pre-islamic era and the early 21st century;

(3) Setting an extended list of Arab and Muslim scholars in the different branches of knowledge open to all areas of knowledge in Arab-islamic civilization ranging from theology and human sciences to natural sciences, exact sciences, literature and arts, and all what Arabs and Muslims had contributions in, independently from their countries, regions, clans, sects, religions and races.

The encyclopaedia entries have been organized by alphabetical order of Names or family lineage. Actual compilation launch started in 2000 with the entry of preliminary lists of names whose bios were to be included and the proposal of an experts' list to write the entries. Their selection obeyed the criteria of field of specialization and belonging to academic staff as much as possible. The scientific committee also set up "technical rules" to follow in entry writing for the sake of common procedures and scientific methodology for the experts to abide by. ALECSO published these 'rules' in a booklet sent to them when appointing them to the task of entry writing.