International Conference on Ibn Al Haytham & Challenges for the Future to be held at UNESCO HQ

As part of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015), UNESCO will host an international conference from 14-15 September 2015 at its Paris Headquarters focusing on the accomplishments of the Islamic civilization in its Golden Age (VIII-XVth century) and the life and works of Ibn Al Haytham, whose pioneering Book of Optics (Kitāb al-Manāẓir) was published around 1000 years ago.


Renowned speakers in the history of light science and international experts in research, technology and education will present talks over two days to provide decision-makers, scientists and the public with new historical insights and informed discussion and debate of the current trends and challenges of research and education in Arab and Islamic countries and other countries worldwide.

A co-located exhibition will showcase replicas and facsimiles of documents and works of scholars from the Islamic Golden Age, and will also feature an exceptional piece – a seventeenth century microscope built by Leeuwenhoek – for its scientific and historical value. This Leeuwenhoek microscope will be exhibited to public for the first time during the Ibn Al-Haytham Conference.

Speakers on Day I (14 September) include:

Roshdi Rashed Director of Research Emeritus, CNRS (France)
Mohamed Mrayati Adviser on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development (Syria)
Josef Van Ess University of Tübingen (Germany)
Harry Verhaar Head of Global Public & Government Affairs Philips Lighting
Eugene Arthurs CEO SPIE

Abdulaziz M. Alswailem

Vice President for Scientific Research Support KACST (Saudi Arabia)
Rolf Landua Head, Education Group CERN
Gihan Kamel  SESAME
Vaseduvan Lakshminarayana University of Waterloo (UK)
Osman Benchikh Chief of Section "Innovation and Capacity Building in Science and Engineering" at UNESCO (UNESCO Headquarters)


Speakers on Day 2 (15 September) include:

Michel Paty Director of Research Emeritus, CNRS (France)
Paul Pietquin Lecturer at the University of Liege (Belgium)
Pierre Coullet Director of Research Emeritus, CNRS (France)
Vincenzo De Risi Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Germany)
J. V. Field  School of History of Art and Screen Media, University of London (UK)
Hassan Tahiri Center for Philosophy of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, (Portugal)
Razaullah Ansari  National Commission for History of Science Projects (India)
Mohamed Baghdadi Former Director of Theoretical Physics, University Rabat (Morocco)
Mohamed El-Gomati (OBE) Chairman of the Foundation of Science, Technology and Civilization (UK)
Sameen Ahmed Khan Physics Engineering Department, Salalah College of Technology (Oman)
Charles Falco Chair of Condensed Matter Physics, Tucson (USA)
Noureddine Melikichi NASA Program Member (USA)
Bahaa Saleh Dean of CREOL University of Central Florida (USA)
Majed Chergui Head of Lab. of Ultrafast Spectroscopy, EPFL (Switzerland)
Marie Abboud Former Head of Physics Department, Saint Joseph University (Lebanon)
Nurdogan Can Professor of Physics at the University of Celal Bayar (Turkey)
Mohammed Dhafer Al-Amri National Centre for Mathematics and Physics, KACST (Saudi Arabia)
Mohamed Abdel Harith National Institute of Laser Enhanced Science (Egypt)
Omar Lamrous Chair of the Optical and Photonics Algerian Society (Algeria)
Mourad Zghal  Chair of the Tunisian Optical Society (Tunisia)


There is no fee to attend the Conference, but advance registration is necessary. To register please send an email to:

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.


Maciej J. Nalecz
Director, Division for Science Policy and Capacity Building
UNESCO Natural Sciences Sector

Azzedine Boudrioua
Steering Committee Chair
Coordinator of the WG Ibn Al Haytham

John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015