The International Day of Islamic Art was proclaimed at the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference in 2019 and takes place every year on 18 November. It aims to raise awareness of past and contemporary artistic expressions of Islam, and the contribution of culture through Islamic Art to civilization. The worldwide celebration of the International Day of Islamic Art not only encourages the appreciation of Islamic art, which has inspired other artistic movements, but also contributes to cultural diversity, freedom of expression, protection of cultural heritage and inter-cultural dialogue. Marking the Day is also a way to foster tolerance between peoples and support cultural rapprochement, both of which are possible through the power of art. Many UNESCO World Heritage sites across Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East include in their Outstanding Universal Value description a link with Islamic art and its diverse artistry, designs and architecture. Ms. Audrey Azoulay (Director-General of UNESCO) outlined following in her message on the occasion of International Day of Islamic Art: "This year, we are marking International Day of Islamic Art for the first time. This Day was proclaimed in order to celebrate together this exceptional heritage, spanning fourteen centuries, which continues to renew and reinvent itself, and influence cultures around the world." Since its establishment in 1995, IICAS regularly carries out scientific studies on impact of the Islamic arts and values to the cultural heritage of the Great Silk Roads.