Abu Dhabi: Fourteen individual and group initiatives, including two Christian expatriates in the UAE, were honoured on Tuesday as ‘UAE Pioneers’.
The prestigious award, was conferred by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
In its sixth edition, the UAE Pioneers Award coincides with the Year of Tolerance this year. The awardees were felicitated in Abu Dhabi at the end of the government meetings.
“We want to see tolerance in all areas of life. We want to educate the tolerant student, train the teacher to educate tolerant generations, and consolidate the values of tolerance that embody the true image of the UAE society,” Shaikh Mohammed said.
The Emirati pioneering individuals and entities made significant contributions to the Year of Tolerance.
Shaikh Mohammed dedicated this year to celebrate the leading figures and initiatives in tolerance that have played a role in highlighting the tolerance of the people of the UAE and their openness to the world and their cultures.
This embodies the goals of the Year of Tolerance announced by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Shaikh Mohammed said that tolerance represents the greatest value Almighty Allah has given to man, praising the exceptional models of UAE nationals and those living on its homeland, in tolerance and upholding human values.
“Today we honour outstanding models that embody the values of tolerance and the values of Zayed and its approach, and work to promote them in the UAE society, so that they become a way of life for all who live on the land of the UAE...Tolerance is the noblest human traits, without which the world will suffer, conflicts increase and nations and civilisations decline,” Shaikh Mohammed said.
“We are collectively responsible for spreading and promoting the values of tolerance, and participating in the consolidation of models and experiences that embody these values.”
14 individual, group initiatives honoured:
- Humanitarian Fraternity Working Group, headed by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
- Interfaith Alliance for Community Security, chaired by Lt Gen Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, launched by the UAE to facilitate the building of bridges between religions, NGOs and experts in all fields.
- Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance.
- The team of the Million Tolerants document, headed by Dr Nidal Al Tunaiji, Director-General of Dar Zayed for Islamic Culture.
- Voice of Tolerance Choir headed by Jameela Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education. The choir includes more than 400 students representing 40 nationalities from 68 schools.
- Hamad Saeed Al Shamsi, UAE Ambassador to Lebanon, who contributed to conveying the image of Emirati tolerance to the Lebanese.
- Global Tolerance Leadership Task Force headed by Noora Mohammad Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, an initiative between the UAE government and Unesco.
- Nasser Al Dhaheri, a thinker, writer and director of several short films, who adopted the slogan of the Year of Tolerance in his work.
- International Institute for Tolerance, the first institution dedicated to raising awareness about tolerance, coexistence and peace through education, which represents a global UAE beacon to achieve solidarity and unity among members of the same society, and promote the concepts of equality, justice and freedom. The award was received by Dr. Hamad Al Shaibani, Managing Director of the Institute.
- Interfaith Hall at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, which embodies the concepts of tolerance through collections belonging to different religions, including religious texts and manuscripts, was received by Mohammad Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi.
- Zayed Gandhi Digital Museum, which pays tributes to Shaikh Zayed and Mahatma Gandhi. The UAE team was led by Noora Mohammad Al Kaabi and Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India to UAE.
- Team of tolerance and coexistence programme headed by Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, which focuses on linking the principle of tolerance to the UAE national identity.
- Rev Andrew Thompson, author of Culture of Tolerance book, which tells stories of people living harmoniously and peacefully in the UAE and celebrates a culture of tolerance and understanding among 10 religions.
- Saji Cherian, an Indian Christian businessman, was honoured for building the Maryam Mosque for workers in Fujairah.
What is the UAE Pioneers Award?
On December 1, 2014, on the eve of the 43rd UAE National Day celebrations, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recognised 43 Emiratis with the UAE Pioneers Award.
The awards were the culmination of a social media initiative that was launched with a tweet from Shaikh Mohammed’s Twitter account in November 2014.
The hashtag campaign prompted Emiratis to nominate fellow countrymen and women who they believed were pioneers in their respective fields. Within two weeks there were more than 137,000 entries, all nominated with the hashtag #UAE_Pioneers.