Every year, the UAE highlights an attribute representing the emirates as a whole: 2017 marked the “Year of Giving,” while 2018 was the “Year of Zayed” (named after the UAE founding father). This coming year, the country shall focus on the importance of peace and co-existence.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan recently declared 2019 as the “Year of Tolerance,” WAM News Agency reported. “Instilling values of tolerance carries on Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and teachings,” according to the UAE President.
UAE President Highlights Value of Tolerance for 2019
President Sheikh Khalifa stated since the UAE was founded, it has always sought to be a “bridge of communication” between different cultures and peoples of the world. This involves cultivating an environment that “emphasises acceptance” and “rejects extremism.”
“We look forward to further contributing towards building societies that believe in the values of tolerance, cohesion and dialogue, and establishing concrete models improving tolerance and co-existence both regionally and internationally,” the UAE President declared.
“Here in the UAE, the Year of Tolerance will be celebrated as a national effort towards further advancing a decades-long dream of creating a tolerant and cohesive society, open to peoples of varying cultures and religions from around the world,” he affirmed. “The UAE and Tolerance go hand-in-hand.”
Five Main Pillars in the Year of Tolerance
Notably, the 2019 Year of Tolerance shall focus on five main pillars, as follows:
- To deepen the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures and peoples by concentrating on teaching the youth on the values of tolerance;
- To solidify the UAE as the global capital for tolerance through a series of initiatives, projects, and dialogue between various cultures and civilisations;
- To enact multiple cultural programmes and contributions to build tolerant communities;
- To focus on legislative and policy-oriented objectives that contribute to mandating cultural and religious tolerance via dialogue; and
- To focus on promoting tolerance and co-existence via targeted media initiatives and projects.
Nurturing Tolerance & Sense of Community
For his part, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: “We want government policies that further consolidate tolerance and a deep sense of community, and to spread these values among our youth and future generations.”
“The UAE must lead the way for intellectual, cultural and media initiatives that further consolidate the values tolerance and co-existence, opening up to cultures of the region and the world as a whole,” he commented.
Likewise, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, declared: “The UAE is a place of tolerance, co-existence and openness to other cultures,” adding that pluralism, societal integration, and tolerance are key to a country’s development.
Laws & Programs on Tolerance in the UAE
Remarkably, here are some of the UAE’s laws, programs, and accomplishments related to tolerance:
- Enactment of Federal Decree Law No. 02 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred;
- Launching of the National Tolerance Programme and introduction of the post of Minister of State for Tolerance in 2016;
- Establishment of centres for countering extremism, such as the Hedayah Centre, Sawab Centre, and the International Institute for Tolerance; and
- Ranking first in the region, and third globally in the Tolerance Index of the 2016 Yearbook issued by the Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.
Indeed, the UAE is a great example of peace and tolerance, with many people coming from all over the world to live and work in the emirates. For us Filipinos, the term “bayanihan” comes to mind — signifying unity and cooperation. Speaking of which, if you are a Filipino residing in Dubai, consider joining the Bayanihan Festival 2018, which will be held on December 21.