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Dubai to host ‘World Tolerance Summit’ in November
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DUBAI: The landmark “World Tolerance Summit” (WTS) will be held in Dubai from Nov.15-16. This was announced on Monday by International Institute for Tolerance (IIT) managing director Dr Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani.

Under the patronage of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “WTS” is a project of ITT, “the  think tank for the promotion of the culture of tolerance” and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, “the foundation (which) pays special attention to the challenges that face the Arab nation.”

It comes two years after Sheikh Mohammed announced on Feb.16, 2016 the creation of the Ministry of Tolerance alongside that of the Ministry of Happiness with the former having the purpose of “promoting virtue as a fundamental value in the UAE society.”

“WTS” aims to seek out ways and means for the much-needed paradigm shift amidst the seemingly unceasing challenges and tough times the world has been going through resulting in more conflicts, wars and strife because of unresolved differences in cultural, religious, social, economic and even political views.

According to Al Shaibani, the summit message is about “peace, love and tolerance” as well as the relevance of building up one another in spite of disagreements. Thus, the theme “Prospering from Pluralism: Embracing Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration,” which is all about the “entrenchment” of respect and acceptance of the other.

At the summit will be the “Tolerance Awards” in recognition of individuals from all spheres of life from around the world who have trekked the value of tolerance.

According to a press statement of UAE Minister of Tolerance/IIT-Board of Trustees chairman Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, “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 being, and to take action based on those concerns.”

Projected to attend the summit are 1,000 government leaders including diplomats, youth representatives and media influencers as well as private and public personalities from all over the world.

Al Shaibani said the key to the summit is the education of the youth especially so that the world is ever-changing. 

From the open forum, Al Shaibani was open to the suggestion raised by an educator from the Abu Dhabi University regarding the creation of a platform at the summit whereby the “UAE Law on Tolerance,” officially known as the “Anti-Discriminatory Law,” would be discussed.

Al Shaibani said he was privileged to go through the “draft law.”

The law was decreed by UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on July 20, 2015. It criminalises all forms of bias or prejudice against any religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race and ethnic origin with jail terms of between six months and 10 years plus fines of between Dhs50,000 and Dhs2 million.

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