Abu Dhabi: The third edition of the Abu Dhabi Family Forum opened with a keynote from Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence.
US judge Frank Caprio, famous for his appearance on the TV show Caught in Providence, also addressed the gathering.
The Forum, which ends on Sunday, is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF).
The event, held at Al Hudayriyat Island, is organised by Family Development Foundation and the Supreme Committee for the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Programme for Excellence and Societal Intelligence under chairmanship of Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council.
In his opening speech, Sheikh Nahyan welcomed Judge Caprio, saying: “For millennia, our country has been a global crossroads, traversed by distinguished scholars, jurists, and leaders who debated important issues of their time. Today we add to this list Judge Caprio who has become a renowned global advocate for issues related to empathy, compassion, understanding, and preservation of human dignity. I believe, Your Honour, that you will be speaking today to an audience unusually receptive to your message.”
Sheikh Nahyan said: “I begin by offering my great thanks, gratitude and respect to the patron of this conference, the Mother of our Nation, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. Her Highness has always been intent on shaping a society that empowered women and men and their families. With her leadership and guidance, the United Arab Emirates has been able to achieve the human development goals we set for ourselves as our women, our men, and our families contribute to the effort.
“I am also honoured to acknowledge the leadership of H.H. Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in directing Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Programme for Excellence and Societal Intelligence. I greatly appreciate his important role in invigorating the creativity, innovation, and contributions of families in our country.”
‘Our greatest fortune’
Sheikh Nahyan added: “Our greatest fortune in the United Arab Emirates is that the leaders of our country have always been people of wisdom and vision. Our wise and visionary leaders, along with our people, have created a society in the UAE that has enjoyed peaceable, and remarkably successful change.
“Our President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is concentrating on our country’s role in global progress and the vital importance of development, sustainability, opportunity, and innovation. His leadership has made our country a beacon of tolerance and coexistence. With his example and initiative, we wholeheartedly accept the obligation to respect and understand the many convictions and beliefs of the people living and working in our country.”
He continued: “The UAE is a very diverse nation where people from some 200 countries live and work together in peace and harmony. Because that condition is vitally important to our country, the government established a Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, the only one in the world.
“As the Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, I have both the privilege and the serious responsibility to promote and nourish tolerance and coexistence in the United Arab Emirates and beyond. My Ministry works with the country’s greatly diversified population in helping to build an open, safe, peaceful, and prosperous country that is recognised as a successful model of multicultural peaceful co-existence in the region and the world.”
Caprio praises UAE
Caprio, who is Chief Judge of the Municipal Court of Providence, Rhode Island, USA, expressed his happiness at attending the Forum.
Judge Caprio extended his gratitude to Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikha Fatima for organising the forum. He also expressed his happiness at visiting the UAE, lauding the directives and efforts of its wise leadership to further the culture and legacy of tolerance and forgiveness.
During his keynote at the forum, Caprio stressed the importance of family values as they “mean everything and define us as a nation and as individuals, noting that values such as faith, hope, honour, charity and loyalty, include the notion of courtesy, respect, dignity and honour”.
He added: “As we all gather here today as leaders in governments, business and international relations, we must understand that it is our obligation to instil these values in the smallest of our family units, and to also extend them on a grand scale. If we, the leaders of our communities, do this, we can, and will, make great societies.”
Judge Caprio said his presence in Abu Dhabi is the best proof of the spread of those values that resonate around the world, adding that he witnessed countless examples of tolerance and compassion during his visit.
“I have learned that the UAE is providing opportunity and a pathway to those that come here from around the world seeking to raise the standard of living for themselves and their families. Those opportunities, along with the advanced education system, sets the stage for continued prosperity for the individuals, as well as the country as a whole.”