Aerial view of Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai’s ‘Tolerance and Inclusivity Week’ will run from November 14 to 20 to foster greater common understanding to create more tolerant societies, organisers said on Saturday.

Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Understanding and respecting different civilisations and cultures is key to creating a peaceful, thriving society. By hosting Tolerance and Inclusivity Week as part of the UAE’s National Festival of Tolerance, Expo 2020 Dubai will unite 192 nations as we seek to utilise the principles of coexistence, fraternity, hope and joint action in the UAE and worldwide, towards creating a better future for all of humanity.”

New alliance

Coinciding with UNESCO’s International Day of Tolerance on November 16, Expo will host a number of events, including a youth forum highlighting the creative and resilient abilities of young people from different nationalities and backgrounds, and the launch of the Global Tolerance Alliance, a UAE initiative to make tolerance and peaceful coexistence an integral part of people’s lives.

Sheikh Nahayan will unveil the alliance at 11:16am at a closed-door event taking place at the Italy Pavilion. The unveiling will also be streamed live as part of the Tolerance and Inclusivity Business Forum, co-curated with Estonia and held at Expo’s Dubai Exhibition Centre, which will focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The tolerance week will open on November 14 with a ‘Designing for All’ session, exploring how we can build inclusive workplaces and communities that cater to and reflect the needs and experiences of everyone, with a focus on people of determination.

All-female orchestra

To mark International Day for Tolerance on November 16, the all-female Firdaus Orchestra returns to the Jubilee Stage at 7pm. The event will feature melding Middle Eastern influences with music taken from world cinema and TV, including Cinema Paradiso, Bombay Theme, Slumdog Millionaire and Maula Ya Salli, as well as featuring a children’s choir from GEMS Legacy School.

Firdaus Orchestra dress rehearsal at Jubilee Stage at Expo Image Credit: Supplied

The Firdaus Orchestra performance is the highlight of a packed International Day for Tolerance programme that also includes a call to action from the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence urging everyone to become a ‘Champion of Tolerance’ and join its platform to enhance connections.


The same day, the USA Pavilion at Expo, together with the US Mission to the UAE and the Israel Pavilion, will screen Amen-Amen-Amen, a film documenting the journey of a Torah scroll made in honour of the founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Featuring milestones in the UAE’s approach to religious tolerance, including Pope Francis’s visit to Abu Dhabi in February 2019, the film will be screened at 6pm in Al Forsan Park.

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File pic of Spacex Falcon 9 replica at USA Pavilion at Expo. For illustrative use only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Other events brought to Expo by participating countries include Cuando Cierro Los Ojos (When I Shut My Eyes), a Mexican film in which two voices express the need to fight against exclusion, which will be screened at the Terra Auditorium at 2pm on November 15.

Later on the same day, at 8pm on the Jubilee Stage, Canadian Indigenous Groups Showcase presents a multi-cultural extravaganza of music, traditional dance and poems featuring artists from around the globe, including Panama, Malaysia, New Zealand and Canada.

Radiodervish, in conjunction with the Arab Orchestra of Nazareth, invites music lovers to the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre at 7pm on November 17 to enjoy an evening of Western and Middle Eastern culture to showcase the artistic and religious coexistence of two worlds.

Ancestral wisdom

Finally, exemplifying inclusion and cross-border cooperation, ‘Te Aratini – Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas’ will share ancestral and contemporary knowledge, cultures and experiences, with the aim of building a more tolerant future. Taking place at Dubai Exhibition Centre on November 18, this all-day conference is a collaboration between New Zealand, Canada and other international partners.

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File pic of Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo Image Credit: Supplied

‘Breadth of Humanity’

Also, as part of the tolerance week, Expo will host the ‘Breadth of Humanity’ journey, one of many curated tours available at the site. The journey is designed to inspire visitors to reflect on what binds humans together by highlighting the role of key organisations and institutions.

For example, the Peru Pavilion shines the spotlight on a thriving multi-ethnic nation, founded on values of intercultural dialogue and tolerance.

Meanwhile, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Pavilion takes visitors on a journey of inquiry and understanding, beginning with a black-and-white introduction, then dramatically morphing into a kaleidoscope of cultures and people, highlighting unity in diversity.

Tolerance and inter-communal harmony are very much a theme at the Muslim World League Pavilion. Here, visitors can discover innovative solutions for a more unified future.

The Catholic church also features on the Breadth of Humanity journey, with a visit to the Holy See Pavilion, where the focus is on collaborations between various ethnic groups.

Concluding the tour is the World Expo Museum Pavilion, showing the impact of the past World Expos, with the events serving as platforms for delivering innovations from different countries to a global audience, thus strengthening bonds between nations.

More events

On November 14, the Italy Pavilion will also host the Global Interfaith Summit, where religious leaders from all faiths and from all around the world will discuss overcoming intolerance and mitigating the effects of extremism. Speakers include Marina Sereni, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr Muhammad Al Duwaini, Deputy of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar; and USG Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for the U.N. Alliance of Civilisations.

Live impact

Throughout the week, social enterprises from the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme will present their innovative ideas for creating more inclusive societies.

The Expo Live Impact Series takes place from November 15 to 19 at 4pm at The Hub, The Good Place, and is an opportunity to hear from grantees such as Picha Eats, a sustainable food business in Malaysia that trains refugee chefs, and Danish start-up Be My Eyes, an app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers.

Meanwhile, the World Majlis series addresses the theme from a range of perspectives – from examining the role of art in fostering care for people and planet in ‘Art for Good’ on November 14, to the need to ensure human-centric and ethical technological progress in ‘Digital Brain, Digital Morality’ on November 18.

Gender equality

Gender inclusion is the focus of the Women’s World Majlis at the Women’s Pavilion on November 17, which will explore how the UAE established its Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence to encourage greater prominence for women in the workplace, and how it is particularly relevant in times of recovery, post-crisis.

Tolerance & Inclusivity Week will conclude with ‘Openness and the Path to Prosperity’, part of the Cultures in Conversation series curated by Expo’s Programme for People and Planet.

Held at the UAE Pavilion, it will look back at the UAE’s experience of inclusivity, culture and education, through an intimate conversation between two of the country’s leading champions of cultural and public diplomacy: Dr Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Cultural Adviser to the President His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Chancellor of UAE University, and Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth.