The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) is a specialized institution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the fields of Education, Science and Culture. It aims to strengthen, promote and consolidate cooperation among Member States in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, as well as develop and upgrade these fields, within the framework of the civilizational reference of the Islamic world and in the light of human Islamic values and ideals. The organization also aspires to publicize the correct image of Islam and Islamic culture,

promote dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions, and work towards spreading the values of justice and peace along with the principles of freedom and human rights, in accordance with the Islamic civilization perspective.

Each year, ISESCO selects three Islamic cities as capitals of Islamic culture based on a set of criteria that serves the main objective of the title and highlights the cultural and civilizational uniqueness of the selected cities.

The Third Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers (Doha, 29-31 December 2001) issued a resolution whereby it adopted the draft program of the capitals of Islamic culture submitted by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and invited the OIC Member States to nominate cities of which ISESCO shall select – each year – three capitals of Islamic culture, representing the Arab, Asian and African regions.