Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 - WTS 2018 held on November 15 and 16 under patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid It brings together more than 1, 500 government leaders and peacebuilding ambassadors
Two-day event includes panel discussions and workshops involving speakers and thought leaders
WTS mainly aims to formulate strategies that help create violence-free society
The International Institute for Tolerance will organize the World Tolerance Summit (WTS 2018) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at Armani Hotel, Dubai, on November 15 and 16, coinciding with the International Day for Tolerance.
Themed “Prospering From Pluralism: Embracing Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration”, the two-day summit will be chaired by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Tolerance.
The Organising Committee of WTS 2018 announced its agenda during a press conference held on Sunday at Armani Hotel Dubai. HE Dr. Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, Managing Director of the institute and Chairman of WTS’s Higher Committee, Mr. Khalifa Mohammed Al Suwaidi, WTS’s General Coordinator, and Dawood Al Shezawi, Head of WTS’s Organizing Committee, revealed the details of the summit in the presence of a crowd of media representatives.
The summit will offer a platform for a plethora of ministers, ambassadors and thought leaders to engage with decision makers, government and non-government organizations and individuals in interactive sessions and talks to network, interact and share their insights on the importance of tolerance in shaping a prosperous and sustainable future.
In his speech at the conference, HE Dr. Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani praised the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his unlimited support for the institute in all events and activities, including his generous patronage of the summit.
He stressed that the UAE, thanks to its wise leadership, supports values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, benefiting from its unique experience as being home to a melting pot of people from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Dr Al Shaibani, who is the Chairman of the summit’s Higher Committee, emphasized their determination to press ahead with plans aiming at supporting a culture of tolerance and peace in the face of violence, intellectual extremism, fanaticism, discrimination and racism by spreading the values of tolerance and goodness derived from the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Dr. Al Shaibani noted that the event, which coincides with the International Day for Tolerance, is the biggest gathering of locally and internationally acclaimed figures that highlight efforts undertakn by the UAE to achieve world peace and entrench the principles of coexistence and illustrate the tolerance and integration of divine relegions in realization of security and peace for all.
The summit will get underway with an inaugural speech by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Tolerance and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Tolerance.
The event will have a series of interactive dialogue sessions, workshops, an accompanying exhibition, panel discussions, and a library for tolerance comprising a collection of important references, books and researches dealing with tolerance in its holistic sense
Dr. Al Shaibani pointed out that several countries will be participating in the summit, including the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Austria, Azerbaijan, Japan, Croatia, Switzerland, Poland and Uganda. The event will include six panel discussions involving 31 speakers who will delve into a range of important and sensitive issues.
He expressed his hope that the summit would help policy makers formulate strategies capable of creating a society free from violence and conflict, a society in which the values of respect and justice prevail.
Khalifa Mohammed Al Suwaidi, General Coordinator of the summit, said the key goal of this gathering of government leaders, peace ambassadors and change makers from around the world is to discuss the importance of tolerance, peace and equality, and to celebrate diversity and harmony between people, regardless of ethnicity, religion, political approach, and cultural and social backgrounds.
He said the summit also aims to highlight international efforts to deal with these tenets, and provide the opportunity for specialists to enrich this topic, based on their role and belief that tolerance and rejection of disputes is now the true criterion for the progress and advancement of nations where tolerance is essential and important to all mankind.
Al Suwaidi noted that the summit gains special importance for being held in the UAE, a haven for tolerance, coinciding with the global observance of the International Day for Tolerance.
Hoping that the summit would achieve its goals, Al Suwaidi said: “There is a series of sessions that are rich in their topics and workshops presented by an elite group of official, academic and influential figures. The event, covering scientific and social aspects, features interactive sessions, and workshops targeting youth.”
He urged young people to engage in the sessions and programmes that examine and discuss mechanisms for combating extremism since they are the primary target of terrorist groups, which aim to nurture them with extremist and fundamentalist ideologies. Al Suwaidi noted that all sessions and workshops involve a spectrum of speakers with vast and varied experiences.
Outlining the summit’s agenda, Al Suwaidi said the event will beging with a panel involving tolerance leaders who will highlight the ways to spread the message of tolerance, with a focus on the role of world leaders in spreading and promoting the principles of peace and happiness within communities.
The session, moderated by Iman Lahrash from Sky News Arabia, will involve HE Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council, Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia Bint Majed Al Saud is the Secretary General and member of the Board of Trustees at Alwaleed Philanthropies. The session also involves HE Dr. Abdul Latif Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Kasymzhomart Tokayev, Senate Chairman and Head of the Secretariate of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, Ambassador Dr Ahmed Ihab Gamaleldin, Egypt’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights and International Humanitarian and Social Issues, and Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide.
The second session, moderated by Akima Umezawa, Consul General of Japan in Dubai, will focus on the role of governments in promoting tolerance, peaceful coexistence and diversity. It will see the participation of Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing and Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, Amr Moussa, fromer Egyptian Foreign Minister and former Secretary General of Arab League, former Egyptian Foreign Minister, and James Flynn, International President of the Global Peace Foundation in the United States, Dr Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bahrain-based King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, HE Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muaammar, founding Secretary General of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, and Professor Salvatore Martinez, founder and Chairman of the Vatican Foundation International Center Family.
The third session, titled "Joint efforts of international organizations and regional and local institutions to promote human solidarity and address issues of tolerance, fanaticism and discrimination’, will be presented by priest Victor Kasangian Junior, Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative in the US. It brings together Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU in Switzerland, Sheikh Abdulllah bin Bayyah, Chairman of the Emirates Fatwa Council, and James Patton, President and CEO of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in the US.
Also participating in the session are Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director of the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (Hedayah), Abulfas Garayev, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Culture, and Dr Aziz Hasanovic, Mufti and President of the Meshihat of Islamic Community in Croatia.
The fourth session titled ‘Social Media and Promoting Positive Messages on Tolerance and Respect for Diversity’, will see the participation of Ibrahim Al Tamimi, Director of the Bahrain Centre for Government Excellence; Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Fawzan, Secretary-General of King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue in Saudi Arabia, and Nina Kowalewska-Motlik, CEO of New Communications in Poland. The speakers will discuss the impact of social media and corporate policies in addressing hate speech and promoting tolerance, as well as highlighting successful initiatives to promote a culture of tolerance.
Moderated by by Dr. Nouf Ali Al Ghamdi, CEO and Founder of the Chief Outsiders Consulting Group in Saudi Arabia, the sixth session will focus on the role of companies and institutions in creating a culture that promotes tolerance and peace by discussing the challenges of managing the multi-national business environment and the reasons for failure to instill tolerance among its employees.
Speakers will include Effenus Henderson, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion, USA, Kulwant Singh, Founder and Managing Director of LAMA Group in the UAE, and Surender Singh Kandhari, Chairman of Al Dobowi Group in Dubai. They will discuss how organisations can harness technology in creating an ideal work environment.
Responsibility of educational institutions
The first day of the summit will conclude with a session dedicated to discussing the responsibility of educational institutions in inculcating the principle of tolerance in the youth of today . It will be chaired by Suhail Ghazi Algosaibi, Founder and Chairman of the Bahrain Foundation for Dialogue, with panelists Saleh Al Wahaibi, Secretary-General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Malik Yamani, General Manager, YAMCONI, Victor Ochen, Founder and Director of the African Youth Initiative Network, Maria Lucia Uribe, Director of Arigatou International in Switzerland, Sheikh Abubakr Ahmed, Founder and Chancellor, Jamia Markaz in India and Chairman of Sheikh Zayed International Peace Conference. The speakers will highlight the importance of education in spreading tolerance among young people.
Day two of the summit will have six workshops, the first of which is themed “A Tolerant Country: Happy Society” by Abdullah Al Zarooni, Head of the Personal Status Settlement Section at Dubai Courts. Other workshops are “The Youth of Today: the Leaders of Tomorrow”, “Using Arts and Sports in Promoting Tolerance”, “In the Footsteps of Sheikh Zayed’, “Women Empowerment in the Development of Country”, and “Understanding and Learning the Science Behind Tolerance”.
Dawood Al Shezawi, Head of the Organising Committee of the summit, said; “The two-day event will discuss mechanisms on how to counter the hate speech and extremism, and ensure the primacy of the language of dialogue and tolerance over that’s of intolerance and exclusion.
He expressed his hope that the summit would yield positive results, and that the participants will seek to make recommendations that help promote a culture of dialogue among peoples, and come up with positive resolutions that satisfy the aspirations of nations and strengthen relationships, and open dialogue among civilizations on solid scientific grounds.
Al Shezawi highlighted the importance of the gathering or more than 1000 personalities under one roof, saying they will no doubt find points of convergence that support the concept of world peace and respect for human rights in compliance with a regulated legal framework.
Al Shezawi said the institute, which falls under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, will sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with several local and international organizations, on the sidelines of the summit. The MoUs aim to strengthen frameworks for cooperation in social, cultural and research fields. The memos will be signed with the Emirates Human Rights Association, Higher Colleges of Technology, the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence in Bahrain, the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse, and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue.
Al Shezawi revealed that the institute will also sign a cooperation agreement with the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue. He also spoke about the Awards for Tolerance, which will be given to a number of figures in recognition of the outstanding achievements they made within their humanitarian surroundings to promote the values of peace and constructive dialogue. The champions of tolerance will be honoured for their efforts in encouraging community members to follow suit.
1, 500 high-profile figures hosted at summit
The summit will host more than 1, 500 high-profile figures, including government leaders, peacebuilding experts, academia, professionals and social media influencers, as well as representatives of the international diplomatic community and international and local organizations, and key figures from the public and private sectors.
They will share their insights on policies and ways to promote the values of tolerance, multiculturalism and acceptance of others to build a world of tolerance in a multicultural society.