The International Day for Tolerance is an annual event declared by the United Nations As some parts of the world are reeling from strife and hatred, the UAE will strive to lead the way to boost pluralism and embrace diversity, organisers of the upcoming World Tolerance Summit in Dubai announced on Monday.
The first-ever World Tolerance Summit (WTS) is organised by the International Institute for Tolerance (IIT), a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, and is happening from November 15 to 16 in Dubai, to coincide with the International Day for Tolerance on November 16.
The International Day for Tolerance is an annual event declared by the United Nations to generate public awareness on the dangers of intolerance. Its observance is anchored on fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples.
Dr Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, IIT managing director and chairman of the WTS higher committee, said the theme for the two-day conference is "Prospering From Pluralism: Embracing Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration".
"The world has seen atrocities," noted Al Shaibani, adding: "Even in the eyes of the young could be seen the effects of intolerant behaviours. In the spirit of tolerance, we teach not only the world but ourselves, not to discriminate and disrespect. We teach ourselves to see other human beings with respect, so they would do the same to others."
He said the summit will host a gathering of around 1,000 government leaders, key personalities from the private and public sectors, youth representatives, social leaders, social influencers and the international diplomatic community "in a platform that seeks innovative solutions and to forge fruitful partnerships that will help promote respect for diversity and productive pluralism".
Noting that the UAE is the first country in the world to appoint ministers for Happiness, Tolerance and the Future, Al Shaibani said that the summit will also explore the use of social media and digital networking "to promote cultural understanding, peace and tolerance".
A slew of citations called Tolerance Awards will be conferred to government and industry leaders, advocates, change-makers, artists, cultural figures, and international and local associations that are promoting tolerance on regional and global scale. However, details of the expected world leaders who will be attendance are not yet revealed.
Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Tolerance and chairman of the board of trustees of the International Institute for Tolerance, will grace the occasion.
Dr Al Shaibani said: "Tolerance is not simply enduring the existence of opinions, ideas, behaviours or practices that do not concur with your own. It is about recognising, respecting and embracing diversity. It is about being secure in your own culture and beliefs, so that you respond to what is different with curiosity and compassion rather than with fear and intolerance.
"To be tolerant, one needs to be concerned genuinely for the welfare of one's fellow human beings, and to take action based on those concerns," he underlined.
There will also be a strong effort focusing on the youth through the involvement of educational institutions in inculcating the values of tolerance as well as efforts to include women empowerment and their capacity to promote and advocate the value of tolerance.
Apart from a series of workshops inculcating the values of the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, there will also be an art and photography exhibition and the launching of Tolerance Library to provide access to books from all over the world to give readers a deeper perspective on tolerance.