In 2018, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan delivered a call to action that was aimed at creating a lasting impact on the nation’s — and the world’s — future governments, organisations, and people.
His message was visionary: 2019 will go down in history as the ‘Year of Tolerance’.
Fast forward the clock one year, this declaration has become embedded within both UAE culture and corporate practice.
The UAE’s mission for tolerance has sparked endeavours aimed at enriching and instilling values of coexistence and peace in local, regional, and international communities.
This has resulted in a drive to establish universal uptake of dialogue, coexistence and openness.
As a nation we should encourage organisations to implement a framework, where annual inclusivity audits are run to measure how public spaces continue to improve access, convenience and ease of movement for all
From the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda to the Dubai Plan 2021, the motivation for building an inclusive society for all is strong.
Aiming to build inclusive environments that integrate multiple sections of society, preserve the UAE’s rich legacy and identity, and underpin the need for social and family cohesion, directives of leadership have instilled a sense of belonging and an atmosphere that caters to all.
This extends into both corporate frameworks and social inclusion for vulnerable groups in society such as People of Determination.
Pluralism is the bedrock needed to build and sustain an inclusive and cohesive society that enables everyone to prosper.
That’s why we are fortunate to reside in this oasis of tolerance, social cohesion, and inclusivity that is the UAE.
‘The spirit of tolerance comes from within’
In the UAE, the freedom to express tolerance virtues is a defining factor that has placed the country at the forefront of global tolerance agendas.
A recent example of this is evident in the UAE collaborating with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to launch the UAE-Unesco Global Tolerance Leadership Programme.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has recently approved a national initiative focused on establishing the UAE as a global incubator for tolerance.
Honing in on the areas of social inclusivity and cohesion for the UAE’s People of Determination, many initiatives are emerging from this shift in thinking.
Dubai’s Sustainable City has recently revealed plans to build ‘Sanad Village’, the world’s first and largest rehabilitation and education centre for People of Determination.
Similarly, the Roads & Transport Authority in Dubai (RTA) has committed to creating a seamless and cohesive smart transit experience across the city for People of Determination by innovating its buildings, facilities and services to cater to people from all walks of life.
Most notably, Abu Dhabi’s successful hosting of the Special Olympics World Games in 2019 reflects the country’s recognition for the need to develop a more inclusive and hopeful world.
Collectively, examples such as these are enabling the UAE to reach a point where tolerance becomes the currency to propel nations forward. This is empowering businesses and leaders across all sectors to carry the message of tolerance into the formative years ahead — creating a world where everyone can fully participate in society.
An inclusive environment
In actual practice, Global Village is emerging as a symbol for tolerant virtues and thinking. Behind its awe-inspiring facades, which represent more than 70 countries and cultures, Global Village is an international hub promoting peace, humanity, coexistence, and respect.
From the Parade of Tolerance and the colourful international roster of entertainment acts, to the diverse pool of store vendors encompassing a rich cross-section of the world, Global Village offers guests an experience of what a tolerant world can offer.
At the heart of corporate objectives to create an everlasting spirit of inclusivity and cohesion, every measurable touchpoint should be examined and continually improved to ensure ease of access and maximum comfort for all.
A place for all
As a nation we should encourage organisations to implement a framework, where annual inclusivity audits are run to measure how public spaces continue to improve access, convenience and ease of movement for all.
Global Village is a place for all, which is accessible to all, regardless of whether guests are People of Determination or of different races or creed.
Unity in diversity is a fundamental value of the UAE, and a cornerstone of the society we live in today. Bestowed to us by our founding fathers, tolerance virtues can effectively promote diversity within the workplace, within industries, within the communities of our country, and across the globe in the decades to come.
Peace, humanity, coexistence, respect: Four words. One message. An infinite legacy.
In the words of the UAE’s founding father, the late and great Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, “tolerance and forgiveness are a duty”. It’s up to all of us to carry this vision and the spirit of belonging forward into the next millennia.
— Bader Anwahi is the CEO of Global Village.