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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

From ministers to artists to Indian businessmen: a look at the UAE's tolerance committee

Artist Najat Makki and Dubai businessman Sunny Varkey are part of the new tolerance committee

The UAE's Supreme National Committee for Tolerance includes ministers, artists and charity founders from a diversity of backgrounds
The UAE's Supreme National Committee for Tolerance includes ministers, artists and charity founders from a diversity of backgrounds

Laws on multiculturalism, local tolerance committees and events to showcase the diversity of the UAE are just some of the developments expected over the next few months as the country gears up to celebrate the Year of Tolerance.

It comes as the make-up of the UAE committee that will set the agenda for the year was revealed.

From ministers to Indian businessmen to artists, this diverse group will lay out how the country will mark the year.

Details about how many are on the committee have not been revealed but there are at least seven women, including five Government ministers. Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, Jameela Al Muheiri, Minister of State for Public Education, and Ohoud Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, have been appointed. Youth is also important with Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth, also on board.

Also appointed was the chief executive of the Emirates Literature Foundation, Isobel Abulhoul, and pioneering Emirati artist Najat Makki. The foundation is home of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, while Makki was the only woman among 15 artists chosen to represent the UAE at 2015’s Venice Biennale.

Other members include Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance, and Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State. But there are also representatives from the art and business world. Yasser Hareb, an Emirati writer and Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist Sunny Varkey are also participating. Mr Varkey is the founder of Gems Education and the Varkey Foundation. Gems is a global education body, while the Varkey Foundation is a charitable organisation.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed on Tuesday said the UAE could become a global capital of tolerance. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation is chairman of the tolerance committee and said the country will seek to spread the message around the world.

“It will continue the nation's journey of hard work and giving, showing the world how the UAE is a unique model for tolerance,” he said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has now urged the members of the committee to develop a plan for the year. It is envisioned that local groups will also be formed across the country to help promote tolerance in the community, education, media, workplace and more.

More details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

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Read more:

How a mother's message to Sheikh Zayed opened the way to tolerance and understanding

From Sikh to Christian, religious leaders gear up for UAE's Year of Tolerance

The Pope's visit: The story of the Roman Catholic Church in the UAE

Updated: December 19, 2018 06:11 PM

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