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Hundreds gather to celebrate Peace Day in Dubai

Keep connecting, work together for more tolerant, peaceful societies, Lubna says

  • From left: Dr Hubertus Hoffman, Bubbles Kandhari, vice-chairperson of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, Frode MaurinImage Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • People of different faiths attend the UN International Day of Peace event at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in DubImage Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: Hundreds of people of different faiths and nationalities gathered to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace in Dubai on Thursday.

The event was organised by the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Jebel Ali for the fifth year.

Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, who was the chief guest at the event, urged everyone to work together to build more tolerant, peaceful and coexisting societies for the present and future generations.

Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance speaks to Gulf News on the UN International Day of Peace

“We all have a responsibility to promote tolerance, coexistence, harmony, peace, respect, safety and dignity. We all have to go hand in hand to protect those noble values.

“Here in the UAE, we believe that tolerance is the backbone of all civilisations, religions and cultures. In its multi-cultural approach, the UAE is home for more than 200 nationalities living and sharing one common existence peacefully and securely.”

Shaikha Lubna said the UAE believes that peoples and nations need to keep connecting, as a key requisite to ensure the stability and prosperity of the world. The UAE is also committed to the promotion and protection of human rights at home and around the world. The foreign policy of the UAE is based on the principles of justice, equality and human rights, she pointed out.

“The UAE places high priority on respect for human rights in accordance with international human rights standards, and is committed to the continual improvement of its own laws and practices, based on the country’s cultural heritage and religious values, which enshrine justice, equality and tolerance.”

Refugee crisis

There are about 65 million refugees around the world as a result of conflicts, said Frode Mauring, UN Resident Coordinator in the UAE and UNDP Resident Representative Acting in Charge for UAE, Oman and Qatar.

“Particularly the ongoing crises in the Middle East have produced the greatest share of refugees in recent years, where millions of men, women and children were forced to leave their homes, their jobs, their entire livelihoods to seek asylum.

“All to escape danger in the pursuit of a better, and above all, safer tomorrow ... which brings me to this year’s theme for International Peace Day: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All,” said Mauring.

“As we engage and mobilise people throughout the world to show support for refugees, migrants, and all those afflicted by armed conflicts, it is our hope these three values are upheld.”

Peaceful coexistence

Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman, Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, said: “We all talk about people when they leave us to rest in peace. I advise everybody ‘let’s start living in peace rather than promoting people resting in peace when they are gone’. It is very important for us to understand peaceful coexistence and live happily together.”

Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE; Dr Hamad Bin Ahmad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, director-general of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities; Dr Hubertus Hoffman, founder and president of the Global Tolerance Initiative, spoke. The speakers urged everyone to instill a sense of “togetherness” in the society and encourage youth to work towards a better future.

The gathering of faith leaders, diplomats, students and others aimed to showcase the UAE’s inclusive diversity and spread tolerance of the vast differences within the country’s population.

Peace Day

Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. It honours the spirit of togetherness, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone.

The gurdwara celebrated the day in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) UAE and supported by the Ministry of Tolerance in the UAE.

The event, which was telecast live in India and Europe, also screened a video promoting peace through advocates from various countries.