When a country begins to live its values, you can see it reflected in its people and their everyday lives. The spirit of inclusivity that is the hallmark of the UAE is visible on every street in the country. It has been intrinsic to its evolution and now this spirit finds its finest expression in the world’s first Tolerance Summit that will begin today in Dubai. The two-day summit is bringing together a range of policy-makers, thinkers, influencers and spiritual leaders to lend the weight of their expertise and conviction to celebrate and uphold the virtue of tolerance in a global reality that is steadily being leached of this precious human value.
The summit’s debut in the UAE is important to understand its full context — it’s being held in and by a country that is an international role model for inclusivity and harmony. The UAE’s exceptionally edifying profile as a place that is home to nearly 200 nationalities is an accomplishment that has come through pursuing the right values and vision.
The country’s unswerving commitment to pluralism and fairness is a statement of intent and it is reflected in the way it welcomes people from different cultures and races. So it is fitting that it host the world’s first international platform to promote tolerance as indispensable for a global good. After all, it is the UAE that first set up the post of a Minister of State for Tolerance (in 2016) — a sign of truly progressive governance. It has also demonstrated its belief in the value of tolerance as an instrument of justice: In July 2015, the country issued a federal law on combating discrimination and hatred, which aims to protect everyone in the UAE. It is a powerful example of how the UAE has embedded the concept of social security in its core vision. The law is intended to provide a sound legislative foundation for the environment of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance by fighting discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin. These are but some examples that demonstrate how the UAE is truly a crucible of tolerance.
But this is not the full extent of the UAE’s intent. It is pushing into farther horizons by focusing on the importance of introducing education for tolerance in schools, governments, workplaces and social clubs, and also engaging the youth in being ambassadors of tolerance.
The more there are such attempts, the stronger will be the immunity built to withstand, and overcome, the forces of divisiveness that are fragmenting societies and people across the world.
The UAE has shown the way. It’s time the others took a cue.