The spirit of tolerance has always flourished in the UAE, making it a defining feature of this great nation. Nowadays, the UAE hosts people from more than 200 nationalities; they live, work and enjoy life in an atmosphere of peace, tolerance and happiness. The government has taken several brave steps and measures to uphold the concept of tolerance at all levels: domestic, regional and international.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Binn Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai established an International Institute for Tolerance as part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. The institute seeks to promote the culture of tolerance regionally and globally, as well as promoting the UAE as a role model for tolerance.
The main aim of the institute is to encourage opening a channel of dialogue with different faiths and reinforce the peaceful essence of Islam. The institute believes in the values of coexistence and human fraternity. Among other things the institute has organised a series of programmes, projects, seminars, workshops, competitions, conferences and forums aimed at deepening youth awareness of tolerance issues.
I am one of the graduates from the programme that allows Emiratis to be experts in tolerance issues with the ability to spread the spirit of tolerance and organise training courses on such issues
Dr Hamad Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaiban, Managing Director of the International Institute for Tolerance and the Director General of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, told me in an interview that one of the most important programmes issued by International institute for Tolerance is the “International Tolerance Expert Diploma” in cooperation with Mohammed bin Rashid school of government.
I am one of the graduates from the programme that allows Emiratis to be experts in tolerance issues with the ability to spread the spirit of tolerance and organise training courses on tolerance issues.
Dr Al Shaiban added that the most important events held annually in Dubai, coincide with the World Tolerance Day, the World Tolerance Summit, which brings together leaders and elites from all over the world.
Pertinently Dubai also hosts the International Peace Conference every two years in which followers of various religions, civilisations and individuals come together. The allocation of the “Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace” aims to honour the entities and individuals who participate in making peace and consider peace as a means of civilised interaction between people.
Over the years Dubai has established the Global Tolerance Network platform with the stated aim of involving all interested parties, peace experts, social influencers, decision-makers, and global tolerance symbols that contribute to spreading knowledge within a sound intellectual framework — free from prejudice, violence and hatred.
Among other things, there have been international competitions directed at university students from different countries, to embody tolerance in artistic and creative ways, such as theatre performances, artistic recitations, art exhibitions and writing short stories.
The institute has further launched a media initiative under the name of ‘United in Hope’ — targeting visual and digital media. This initiative aims at emphasising how tolerance and cooperation can help us confront the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Institute’s Board of Trustees has approved a tripartite strategic plan (2020-2022), including local and international initiatives, in line with the UAE vision for the year 2071.
It goes without saying that the establishment of the institute has enhanced the principle of peaceful coexistence among all members of the UAE community. “The Institute was able to enhance the principles of tolerance and peace, and make the UAE a centre and destination for tolerance and world peace in a record time,” Dr Al Shaiban concluded.
Dr Noura S. Al Mazrouei is a writer, academic, international tolerance expert and artist