Dubai: An International Institute for Tolerance was established on Wednesday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The institute aims to build a cohesive society and promote the UAE as a role model for tolerance and anti-extremism while challenging all forms of discrimination among people.

Shaikh Mohammad said: “The establishment of the institute comes at a time when there is a dire need to build bridges of tolerance and solidarity between people. The institute’s doors are open to scholars and tolerance advocates, who wish to work towards establishing a culture of tolerance and openness in our societies, and against extremism, fanaticism and intellectual repression.”

Law No 9 of 2017 on setting up the institute, also launches the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Tolerance Award.

The award will be awarded across five sectors – three honouring the efforts to spread the value of tolerance in philosophy, literary creativity and visual arts, and two competitions organised by the awards committee, focusing on youth projects and new media initiatives.

“Since its establishment, the UAE has promoted the values of tolerance, coexistence, acceptance and openness, and has become a safe haven for people from all over the world who can find it a place without discrimination based on religion, race, gender or colour,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

“Tolerance is a fundamental value in any successful society; it is the foundation of stable and prosperous nations, and happy peoples,” he added.

Shaikh Mohammad also issued Decree No 23 of 2017 establishing a Board of Trustees for the institute and Decree No 28 of 2017, appointing Dr Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani as managing director of the institute. The Board of Trustees will be headed by Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance. Ministers, senior officials and industrialists including Uhoud Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Noura Mohammad Al Kaabi, Shamma Suhail Al Mazroui, Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qasim, Dr Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Turki Bin Abdullah Aldakhil, Mazen Jubran Hayek, Gerald Francis Lawless, Ahmad Esmail Al Abbas, Sunny Varkey, and Avishesha Bhojani, will be board members.

The Board of Trustees will oversee the work of the Institute and Award. It will have the authority to adopt the Institute’s general policy and strategic and development plans, to approve the Institute’s programmes and initiatives, to supervise international conferences held in the country, and to adopt the statutes of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Tolerance.

The institute is tasked with proposing policies and legislation to entrench the values of tolerance in society, submit these proposals to relevant authorities for implementation and periodically organise international conferences related to tolerance in the UAE. It will also be responsible for preparing and disseminating research on how to engage in partnerships with relevant cultural institutions around the world to spread the principles of harmony and the values of intergenerational tolerance; organising seminars, workshops, forums and specialised training programmes aimed at promoting the spirit of tolerance and peace in the world.

The institute will also work on launching and encouraging initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance and coexistence among all members of society; supporting intellectual and cultural output that promotes tolerance in society; creating an environment that is conducive to social and cultural harmony and eliminating exclusionary behaviour; and any other function or power required to achieve the objectives of the Institute.

Shaikh Mohammad announced the establishment of the institute and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Tolerance Award in October last year, as part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) initiatives.

MBRGI is the largest humanitarian and development institution, embodying 33 institutions implementing over 1,400 development programmes and initiatives that support over 130 million people in 116 countries around the world, and working in cooperation with 280 partnerships with international and regional organisations, governmental institutions and private-sector entities.