Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, addressing the conference on Tuesday at ADNEC Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: At a time when the world is witnessing conflicts, there is a need for breaking down barriers of misunderstanding. These were the opening remarks heard at the International Dialogue of Civilisations and Tolerance (IDCT) Conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

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The comments came from Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, after he inaugurated of the Conference, which ends on Thursday.

He added that efforts focus reviving the values of tolerance, human fraternity, and dialogue, the exchange of ideas and cooperation in facing challenges.

The IDCT Conference is organised by the Emirates Scholar Research Centre (ESRC) in cooperation with the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence and the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) and the Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau, under the theme ‘Bridging Cultures, Nurturing Diversity’.

Dignitaries at the event Image Credit: WAM

The event, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), is seeing the participating of over 50 speakers and more than 2,000 participants from the UAE and abroad, as it explores a variety of topics, such as exchanging historical experiences, the role of culture in promoting coexistence, and the importance of understanding and respecting cultural differences in contemporary societies.

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UAE model

In his opening speech, Sheikh Nahyan said that the UAE will remain a unique and successful model of peaceful coexistence, bringing closer people of different religions, cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds. He added that UAE residents feel free and safe to trade and deal in the country, as it continues to solidify its status as a preferred destination to live and work.

“We are truly grateful for the UAE’s unwavering commitment to these universal human values under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” Sheikh Nahyan said. “Thanks to His Highness’s leadership and directives, the UAE is steadfast in its drive to combat misunderstanding, prejudice, ignorance, fear and hatred, driven by its belief that understanding and mutual respect can help achieve unparalleled economic prosperity, underpinned by social and political stability.”

He stressed that minds communicate through dialogue, which greatly contributes to achieving progress and promoting tolerance, understanding and peace, while also helping unleash the enormous positive potential of a diverse and interconnected world. The Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence explained that building a peaceful and prosperous world community must be based on a commitment to practising these universal human values.

Also speaking at the opening were Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNAOC High Representative, and Major General Dr Ahmed Naser Al Raisi, President of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL).

Moratinos said that promoting understanding and cooperation between different civilisations and cultures is a goal that we should all strive to achieve, noting that this conference can make a vital contribution in this area.

He added that the UAE has always been a cradle of tolerance and human fraternity, and it is a wonderful model of truly civilised coexistence.

Shaikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Executive Committee Member of Religions for Peace, said that dialogue is a core value and a prominent feature of Islamic and Arab civilisation and culture.

He added that Islam has established dialogue and made it a fundamental principle for communicating with others, regardless of where they are from or how different they may be.

Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, stressed that Abu Dhabi has today become a global beacon for promoting the values of moderation, coexistence and human fraternity.

He noted the UAE’s Principles of the 50 were put forth as a reference for the country and its people to improve the quality of life, and ensure the values detailed in the Document on Human Fraternity live on across generations to come.