UAE Year of Tolerance ideal time to recognise unsung heroes
Image Credit: Gulf News

The Abu Dhabi Awards represent a valuable opportunity to highlight noble feats and humanitarian acts that reflect the core principles and ideals that this nation was founded on. The Awards seek to acknowledge the important efforts that individuals, both nationals and expatriates, are making, while honouring their impact, large or small, on our society. The Awards recognise the huge yet often unobserved or under publicised contributions that have proved to be fundamental building blocks for the development and prosperity of the UAE.

The late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder and father of the UAE, laid the foundations for these fundamental values to guide and shape his young nation. Shaikh Zayed believed that every person, regardless of his race, religion or age, has a place within our community. The diversity of the country’s community and strength and moral grounding of its people breathe soul into the nation.

The late Shaikh Zayed once said that the real measure of a country’s progress and wealth is in the empowerment of its people: “No matter how many buildings, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all of these are merely material. The real spirit behind progress is the human spirit.”

We must band together to celebrate the fabulous stories of unsung heroes from the UAE and send this strong message of friendship towards one another across the emirates, and around the world

- Zaki Nusseibeh

This long-standing tradition represents an embedded heritage of tolerance, coexistence and inclusion that formed the founding father’s legacy. His vision lives on through the incredible individual accomplishments of people of diverse ethnic backgrounds living in the UAE, comprising over 200 nationalities.

Message of inclusion and harmony

Their contributions are a testimony to their passionate commitment to share his dream, and to continue to help influence society through their admirable actions. Since its foundation in 2005, the Abu Dhabi Awards have honoured the outstanding achievements of 80 people from over 16 different nationalities. The important message it embodies is one of inclusion and harmony, and its goal is to highlight the heroic, if sometimes overlooked, actions of dedicated individuals.

This is a message that bears an added significance in the Year of Tolerance, celebrated by the UAE this year to convey its vision for a human race that is united in its struggle against extremism and violence. This year’s theme, highlighted in the historic Fraternity of Mankind Document signed in Abu Dhabi by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Imam of Azhar, sets the ideal background to commemorate the greatness of individual acts of generosity and civic duty that characterise our society.

The Abu Dhabi Awards provide a platform to support and empower our civic leaders; it also encourages us to strive for an inclusive, harmonious society that promotes cross-cultural engagement. We must band together to celebrate the fabulous stories of unsung heroes from the UAE and send this strong message of friendship towards one another across the emirates, and around the world.

This award gives everyone the opportunity to pay tribute to those who are contributing to our society, regardless of age, creed or nationality. One nomination is all it takes to ensure their noble efforts can be recognised by Abu Dhabi’s highest civilian honour.

The nomination process is quick and simple; just visit or call the toll-free number on 800-3331. Nominations for this award will close on December 31, 2019, and the award ceremony will take place at the beginning of 2020. Its journey starts with you.

—Zaki Nusseibeh is the UAE Minister of State.