Under the patronage of the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the International Institute for Tolerance in Dubai (EIIC), part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation, has organised the second edition of the World Tolerance Summit 2019 under the theme 'Tolerance under Multiculturalism.’
The Summit will be chaired by the Minister of Tolerance and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and is to be held on November 13th and 14th in the halls of Madinat Jumeirah Dubai with the participation of representatives from 121 countries and 70 speakers and lecturers.
This year, the summit has attracted some 3,000 participants, including global leaders, international experts, government officials and specialists. It focuses on four themes: economic, social, cultural and media tolerance. The event is attended by 40 international personalities and 36 student projects from 20 universities.
2019 the year of tolerance in the UAE
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's declaration of 2019 as the Year of Tolerance embodied the UAE as a global capital of tolerance and emphasised the value of tolerance as a sustainable institutional action through a combination of legislation and policies.
The main framework of the Year of Tolerance revolves around seven themes aimed at developing the values of tolerance, coexistence and openness to other peoples' cultures. The seven themes are tolerance in society, tolerance in education, institutional tolerance, cultural tolerance, the UAE model of tolerance, tolerance in politics, legislation and tolerance in the media.
The United Arab Emirates has become an important station, regionally and internationally, to activate the values of tolerance and cohesion among members of society and consolidate its concept through the holding of forums and specialised initiatives.
The importance of the tolerance initiatives launched by the UAE since the beginning of 2019 is that they embody the vision of combating extremism and hatred while promoting openness to other cultures, giving the UAE uniqueness in this area.
Parallel to these initiatives and specific events that are organised monthly in government and private institutions comes the role of the UAE embassies in promoting these concepts externally. This is a real beginning to sustain and consolidate the concepts of tolerance and coexistence with different religions and cultures in different segments of the UAE society, which has become more aware of the importance of these human values.
Last September, the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi received 18 non-Muslim houses of worship for licenses to operate after completing the development of legal frameworks, policies and procedures to ensure that citizens of these religions practice their rites smoothly and in accordance with the laws and regulations in force in the UAE.
The International Institute for Tolerance, part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation, has published the first edition of the Digital Tolerance Platform, which focuses on the UAE's tolerance experience, including cultural diversity and a culture of acceptance. In conjunction with the UAE's readiness to host the second session of the World Summit for Tolerance 2019, which is held under the slogan 'tolerance in the light of multiple cultures' with wide Arab and foreign participation.
On the external level, the UAE embassies around the world have witnessed intensive diplomatic activity to achieve the humanitarian mission of the State and participated in many international meetings and forums focused on combating hate speech and spreading tolerance, both in the region and the wider world.
Participants in the summit
The organising committee announced the details of the event at a media conference that included Hamad bin Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Managing Director of the International Institute for Tolerance in Dubai, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Summit, Afra Al Sabri, Director General of the Office of the Minister of Tolerance, and Ambassador Abdulrahman Ghanem Al Mutaiwee, Director of the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Dubai. Salah Obaid Al-Ghoul, Director General of Community Protection and Crime Prevention at the Ministry of Interior, Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Vice Chairman of the Organising Committee of the World Summit for Tolerance, and Dawood Shizawi, Chairman of the Organising Committee World Summit for Tolerance.
The summit, which will be attended by a number of ministers, ambassadors and thinkers during its panel discussions and accompanying workshops, will represent a link and a point of contact and interaction between different groups and segments of decision-makers, policies, governmental and non-governmental organisations and individuals.
The organising committee announced the participation of Rustam Nurgalevich Menekhanov of the Republic of Tatarstan from the Russian Federation, Mara Cristina Gabrielli, Federal Senator of Brazil, and Lucy Janet Bermudez, President of the State Council of Colombia. They will join a crowd of senior officials, specialists, social influencers, representatives of the diplomatic corps, international bodies and local and educational institutions.
Objectives of the Summit
Dr Hamad Al-Shaibani, Managing Director of the International Institute for Tolerance in Dubai, Chairman of the Supreme Committee of the Summit, said during a press conference that the value of tolerance is embraced by the United Arab Emirates in word and deed and the UAE considers it the basis of peace, development and stability. The Summit of Tolerance is therefore not a recent historical addition, but has its own deep and long-standing roots.
Afra al-Saberi, Director General of the Office of the Minister of Tolerance, stressed that this country, under its leadership and citizens, is keen to cooperate with everyone everywhere in order to spread tolerance and inspire hope in relations between people, communities and societies.
She pointed to the organisation of a session entitled ‘Tolerance without borders’ for the young people of more than 20 universities in the country, with the participation of more than 700 students as the first phase of this programme.
In turn, Ambassador Abdul Rahman Al Mutaiwee, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Office in Dubai, pointed to the ministry's participation in the second session of the World Summit for Tolerance to be added to its work in this area. He explained that the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has signed seven UN resolutions to support pluralism and protect minorities, in addition to supporting the ministry's national initiatives to promote tolerance.
Brigadier General Dr Salah Obaid Al-Ghoul, Director General of Community Protection and Crime Prevention at the Ministry of Interior, said that the Ministry has worked to “institutionalise” the value of tolerance through many international and local initiatives.
For his part, Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Vice Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the World Summit for Tolerance, said that the UAE has embodied since its founding a model to follow in tolerance and giving. It has always uniquely launched qualitative initiatives that the world has never seen before, with the aim of supporting and laying the foundations for brotherhood and peaceful human coexistence.
Dialogue sessions and workshops
The World Tolerance Summit is organising interactive sessions and workshops on the event's agenda.
The first workshop entitled Islamic Education Curriculum seeks to analyse the curriculum of Islamic education in the UAE at the secondary level. The UAE hosts more than 200 nationalities from different religious and ethnic communities, which makes addressing the issues of religious tolerance a fundamental necessity in these curricula.
The workshop is moderated by Dr Mariam Al Shamsi, Assistant Professor at the College of Education at Zayed University and Dr Naveed Bakali, Assistant Professor at the College of Education at the American University in Dubai.
Dr Wajiha Al Baharna, Vice President of the Bahrain Women's Society for Human Development in the Kingdom of Bahrain, present a second workshop entitled "Tolerance to Transcend". The workshop will discuss ways to promote the culture and values of tolerance in the community and how to train and enable young people to practise and adopt a tolerance approach.
The workshop of Human Harmony examines the natural instinct that humanity has created - humanity, a sense of empathy for others, and a good attitude that have been the basis for the development of relations over decades and generations. Presented by Karen Puri, founder of Synchro Comms in the UAE.
On the theme of tolerance in Saudi Arabia, Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Fawzan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Secretary-General of the King Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue in Saudi Arabia, reviews the most prominent initiatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in spreading the principles of peace, tolerance between cultures, mutual respect, acceptance of difference and building bridges of human and civilizational rapprochement.
Sheikh Abdullah Mohammed Al Ansari, Director of Community Research, Outreach and Public Relations at the Irada Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation in Dubai, will explain one of the Centre's initiatives in the Year of Tolerance aimed at integrating and empowering people recovering from addiction disorders in society.
The workshop on "Values of Tolerance in Emirati Thought" will present a picture of the life of the founding leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan on human empowerment in the UAE before and after the Union.
The calendar of events and activities that will be held during the two days of the event includes a specialised digital library within which more than 80 books, references and important researches are organised, in addition to an artistic and photographic exhibition.
Religious tolerance and the coexistence of nations, cultures and civilizations are the message of the art exhibition, which includes paintings, art pieces and photographs embodying various art schools and allowing people to meet on a common ground that contributes to creating a closer acquaintance and harmony among participants.
The exhibition is organised in collaboration with National Geographic Abu Dhabi Channel, The One Million Tree from Australia, Royal 193 Silk Road Collection for Culture and Arts from China, and Dar Al Fatwa from the Australian Islamic Supreme Council.
The exhibition aims to promote the idea of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and to spread the culture of peace through art. The artworks, which involve volunteers from several countries, deal with a range of topics related to humanitarian and social issues in different sizes and shapes. The details are given to visitors in Arabic and English.
Egypt participates in a film
Egypt is participating through a documentary film produced by Saint Films. Director Mohamed Khairy presents the experience of making the documentary "On its Land - The Word", the first film to show the history of the Christian communities in Egypt and their influential role in Egyptian society. Khairy will also talk about the role of the media and cinema in highlighting the values of tolerance, diversity, peace and fighting misleading news.
The first part of the film – ‘Jesus was here’ – has already been screened in several international festivals, such as the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Beirut International Festival, winning several local and international awards.
Sports and artistic activities on the sidelines of the summit
The first morning of the National Festival for Tolerance and Humanitarian Brotherhood witnessed on Tuesday the organising of a march of athletes under the slogan "On the way of Zayed" and involved 75 athletes from the UAE including past and current sports and professional football stars.
The march, organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Tolerance, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Dubai Sports Council and the Professional League Committee, is part of the UAE's contribution to promoting the values of tolerance and promoting the festival.
On a different note, Kuwaiti folklore group ignited the enthusiasm of the public at the Umm Al Emarat Park. Theatre performances included a stunning mime show that impressed the audience, as well as Chinese art and a dragon dance.