UAE will co-ordinate a new Global Tolerance Alliance
Dubai tolerance summit calls on nations to unite
Ministers and regional leaders came together in Dubai on Thursday to embrace peace.
At the World Tolerance Summit, the leaders discussed how to spread the message of tolerance and how their influence and experiences could help to promote peace and happiness in society.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and chairman of the board of trustees of the International Institute of Tolerance, said Emirati heritage was ensconced in that belief.
“Sheikh Zayed was totally committed to the values of tolerance, peaceful existence and equality in front of the law,” he said. “The values and traditions associated with that proud heritage have enabled us to engage positively with all diverse elements of our population.
“Tolerance thrives on education and knowledge, all forms of communication and the creation of local and global partnerships.”
Sheikh Nahyan announced a national research project on tolerance to promote the creativity and innovation of researchers in the UAE and through global partnerships.
The research will examine factors, conditions and work plans to strengthen tolerance among people, families, local communities and more.
A second initiative is establishing the Global Tolerance Alliance to promote tolerance around the world.
The UAE will be a global co-ordinator for co-operation within the alliance.
“This summit gives us the opportunity to provide a prominent forum for positive and sincere dialogue among people of diverse cultures and beliefs,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
“We are completely ready to share our positive experience and to gain from others a wider understanding of the universal power of tolerance.”
At the event, which was also attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, an agreement on tolerance was signed by dignitaries from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and the US – as well as the Emirates Human Rights Association, Higher Colleges of Technology and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid later posted on social media his support for the summit.
"Personally, I believe that tolerance is a human right. I believe it is a tool of civilized development and that tolerant people are universal human populations that deserve leadership.
"Perhaps what our region needs most today is for its people and their religious and cultural communities to tolerate themselves."
The effect of terrorist attacks on European soil and the need for greater gender equality in the Gulf were topics on the table during a tolerance leaders debate.
“After the terror attacks in Belgium I was advised not to go to Europe as it was considered a risk, but I said no — it was important for me to go to show unity,” said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, president of the Federal National Council.
“I wanted to lead by example and unite in the global war on terror. It was important to show this was damaging to Islam and not part of our Muslim beliefs.”
Saudi Arabia was well represented at the two-day event at the Armani Hotel in Business Bay.
In times of rapid change in the country, the nation’s representatives were well placed to discuss the impact of tolerance and how it can help shape society.
Princess Lamia bint Majed AlSaud, secretary general and board member of the Trustees Alwaleed Philanthropies, Saudi Arabia, said kindness to strangers can help underpin a stable, peaceful society.
“A hug, a word and a smile is often worth more to develop tolerance than a thousand lectures on the subject,” she said.
“Gender equality is a message of tolerance and one we should be looking to embrace.
“There are lessons I was taught as a young girl that I now know to be incorrect, so we must always be looking to learn.”
Understanding the beliefs of others without prejudice was an important message of the summit.
During other discussions at the event, global leaders explained the role of governments in encouraging tolerance through peaceful coexistence and diversity.
Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said Europe was an example of how disagreements and fractured nations can be repaired over time.
“There were two world wars in Europe where countless lives were lost, yet 70 years later there is a greater tolerance and understanding on the continent,” he said.
“It is an example as to what can be achieved when nations come together.”