Tolerance and acceptance are some of the core values on which the UAE was founded. Having celebrated the Year of Innovation in 2015, the Year of Reading in 2016, the Year of Giving in 2017 and the Year of Zayed in 2018, the new year brings about a new theme. HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Emir of Abu Dhabi and the eldest son of HH the late Sheikh Zayed on Saturday declared 2019 as “ The Year of Tolerance ”.
The Year of Tolerance will be an extension of the Year of Zayed (2018), as the community will be encouraged to uphold the ideals of tolerance and co-existence that the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan advocated for while forming this nation.
Sheikh Khalifa mentioned that “Instilling values of tolerance carries on Shaikh Zayed’s legacy and teachings. It is one of the most important attributes that we can impact on our people and the global community to ensure the safety, stability and happiness of peoples across the world.”
The Year of Tolerance will centre around 5 focal pillars.
- The first pillar will focus on teaching the youth about the values of tolerance and instil in them ideals of co-existence among cultures and people.
- The second aims to solidify the UAE’s position as a global capital for tolerance through various initiatives and projects specially designed for tolerance and dialogue between various cultures and civilizations.
- Third, to build tolerant communities by establishing multiple cultural programmes and contributions.
- The fourth focuses on legislative and policy-oriented initiatives to boost cultural and religious tolerance.
- Last, utilizing the media to promote tolerance and co-existence via targeted strategies.
With Khalifa's announcement of 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, we recall the great heritage that Sheikh Zayed founded on tolerance and today characterises UAE's diverse society. The world today needs universal human values to be promoted for the sake of future generations.
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 15, 2018
The UAE has heightened their campaign for harmony and co-existence in recent years. HH Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi was appointed as the Minister of State for Tolerance in 2016, making the GCC country the first in the world to introduce a new ministry and minister for tolerance.
On UNESCO’s International Day of Tolerance in 2017, the pedestrian bridge over the Dubai Water Canal had been named the Tolerance Bridge.
Furthermore, in 2015, the UAE passed a law criminalizing any form of hatred. Law No. 02 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred was enacted to protect everyone in the country, via a solid legislative ground for the environment of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance. The law aims to fight discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.
February 2019, will see Pope Francis visit the country, where he will hold a Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi, a landmark mass that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of Catholics in the UAE during his first visit to the GCC. This is a sign of the UAE’s growing tolerance and acceptance of all faiths.
We welcome the news of Pope Francis' visit to the United Arab Emirates next February – a visit that will strengthen our ties and understanding of each other, enhance interfaith dialogue and help us to work together to maintain and build peace among the nations of the world.
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) December 6, 2018
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, 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 said.