Clint Egbert/Gulf News Khalifa Mohammed Al Suwaidi, General Coordinator World Tolerance Summit, (left) and Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, MD of the International Institute for Tolerance and Chairman of the Higher Committee of World Tolerance Summit, at a press conference in Armani Hotel, Dubai on 25th June, 2018. Photo

Dubai: Around 1,000 leaders and delegates from the fields of politics, religion, and culture, among others, will convene in Dubai in November for the first-ever World Tolerance Summit (WTS) to forge alliances against extremism and sectarianism, officials announced on Monday.

The summit, an initiative of Dubai-based International Institute of Tolerance (IIT), will be held on November 15 and 16, coinciding with the International Day of Tolerance (November 16).

IIT, part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, acts as a think tank providing solutions to the challenges of extremism and sectarianism through promotion of a culture of tolerance.

On Monday, officials of WTS and IIT said during a press conference that a number of countries in the Middle East and elsewhere are strife-torn, not least because of a prevalence of intolerance in sections of society.

The press conference was held to announce WTS — another press conference will be held later to reveal the WTS speakers and main delegates. An official at the event said key figures have been invited from “all over the world” and could include ministers, among other leaders in various sectors.

The theme of the first WTS is ‘Prospering From Pluralism: Embracing Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration’.

Day one of the summit will be attended by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and chairman of the board of trustees of IIT. In a statement conveying a message from the UAE to the world, Shaikh Nahyan said: “Tolerance is not simply enduring the existence of opinions, ideas, behaviours or practices that do not concur with your own. It is about recognising, respecting and embracing diversity. It is about being secure in your own culture and beliefs, so that you respond to what is different with curiosity and compassion rather than with fear and intolerance. To be tolerant one needs to be concerned genuinely for the welfare of one’s fellow human beings, and to take action based on those concerns.”

The first day of the summit will feature several forums to promote a global culture of tolerance, including the role of governments, schools, artists and social media influencers, with a strong focus on youth and women.

Day one will conclude with the Tolerance Awards that will give recognition to political and business leaders, change-makers, cultural figures, artists, and influencers for their contribution in the advancement of a culture of tolerance.

On the second day, a series of workshops will focus on the values of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE’s founding father.

Dr Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, managing director of IIT and chairman of the higher committee of WTS, said: “The world has seen atrocities. Even in the eyes of the young could be seen the effects of intolerant behaviours. In the spirit of tolerance, we teach not only the world but ourselves, not to discriminate and disrespect. We teach ourselves to see other human beings with respect, so they would do the same to others.”

Khalifa Mohammad Al Suwaidi, general coordinator of WTS, said: “We trust that this government initiative under IIT and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives will completely break the barrier of cultural, political, and religious differences and in its place a bridge for better understanding, cooperation, and mutual respect.”