The years pass by and the dark clouds of despair, agony, war, and suffering gather in strength, a ray of shining light that represent hope, kindness, summits of joy and courage always manage to shine brightly. That light is the UAE setting a stellar example among its contemporaries on how it can shine the brightest even in the darkest of moments.
With a move to highlight the UAE as a global capital for tolerance, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nayan declared 2019 as the ‘Year of Tolerance’ on the 15th of December 2018. Through the help of various legislative and policy-oriented goals to enhance the role of the UAE in instilling values of co-existence and peace in the local region and international communities.
According to The President, The Year of Tolerance is an extension of the ‘Year of Zayed’ that the late Shaik Zayed Bin Sultan established among the citizens of the UAE and will focus on five pillars to deepen the values of tolerance and co-existence and to celebrate it “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. The UAE and tolerance go hand-in-hand”.
The Five Pillars
The Year of Tolerance will focus on five main pillars:
· The first will deepen the values of tolerance and coexistence among cultures and peoples by concentrating on teaching the youth about the values of tolerance.
· The second pillar seeks to solidify the UAE as the global capital for tolerance, via a series of initiatives and projects specialized in tolerance and dialogue between various cultures and civilizations.
· The third pillar will enact multiple cultural programmes and contributions to build tolerant communities.
· The fourth pillar will focus on legislative and policy-oriented objectives that contribute mandating cultural and religious tolerance via dialogue.
· The fifth pillar will focus on promoting tolerance and coexistence via targeted media initiatives and projects.
The Initiatives taken
Various initiatives were undertaken by the UAE government before the onset of the announcement chief among them being the Federal Decree No 2 of 2015 which focuses on ‘combating discrimination and hatred based on race, religion caste or ethnic origin. Also, in 2016 the UAE Cabinet created the first post of the ‘Minister of State for Tolerance’- the first of its kind and the only one in existence in the world. In lieu of these initiatives of the past future events will also lend credence to the declaration.
A history of firsts
The ‘Year of Tolerance’ will be marked by a landmark visit of Pope Francis to the UAE, where he will hold a Papal Mass in the city of Abu Dhabi, which is said to draw thousands of Catholics in the UAE for his first visit to a GCC nation. Along with playing host to the Pope, Abu Dhabi will also house its first Hindu Temple, plans for which were approved in 2015. Built and managed by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, a non-profit social and religious Hindu organization, the temple, expected to be completed by 2020, will have seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE.
It can be said that a ripple can cause a whirlpool, meaning that even the smallest of actions can make the biggest difference in the world and by declaring each passing year to be the representation of the best of human virtues, Dubai is set to make an unprecedented step in spreading the message of peace, tolerance, justice in the Middle-East 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.