Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of all the people of the UAE, who come from more than 200 different countries and represent different cultures, religions, and language groups, welcome to all our visitors. You are all most welcome in our hospitable Arab Tent as you celebrate all aspects of your rich and vibrant cultures at Expo 2020 Dubai.
I am especially honored to be with you at the Expo site today. I am delighted with the spirit of tolerance, human fraternity, and cooperation that flows from the opportunities available to all of us at EXPO 2020 Dubai – opportunities to make tolerance and peaceful coexistence an integral part of our lives as dedicated global citizens. Our experiences at the EXPO will help us with our commitment to take up the banner of peace and preservation of human dignity around the globe and to pay attention to the role of knowledge, culture, tolerance, and human fraternity in our lives.
Our meeting this morning is part of the National Festival of Tolerance that the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence organizes every year. The festival has been an outstanding success in previous years. Each year, during the festival we launch initiatives that promote tolerance and coexistence in the UAE and in the world. In honor of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee this year, we are announcing our most ambitious, and we believe most impactful international initiative to date, the Global Tolerance Alliance.
One of the great global challenges of our time is the eradication of intolerance and the promotion of tolerance. The more tolerance allows us to understand and appreciate the differences among us, the more likely it is that we will recognize the human values that must bind us together. Because you are here today, I know I am in the company of kindred spirits. We can no longer let ignorance, suspicion, and intolerance erect walls between the various peoples of the world. We must work together to spread the message and the skills of tolerance. The Global Tolerance Alliance will help us to work together to accomplish this goal.
The decision of the United Arab Emirates government to establish a Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence is a message to the world that tolerance is not a natural state and tolerance is not easy to achieve and sustain. Sustaining tolerance requires cooperation and commitment from individuals, organizations, entities, and governments. And the promotion of tolerance is vital to the enrichment of human life as we acknowledge our great human diversity, most particularly as we celebrate the many cultures of the world.
The incredible potential of the Global Tolerance Alliance inspires us at the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence. We are proud to be its sponsoring agency, as part of our responsibility to contribute to international efforts to promote the compelling virtues of tolerance and human fraternity.
We envision the Global Tolerance Alliance to be a coalition formed by people and non-governmental organizations around the globe – people and organizations who are committed to advancing the dignity of human life and safety of all people regardless of their nationality, age, sex, religion, language, economic status, or position in life. Its founding principles are those of tolerance and human fraternity, including freedom of belief and action, equal justice for all, dialogue, equality of rights, mutual understanding and respect, the composite of which leads to a more peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous local, regional, and global society.
Currently there is no identifiable international group or organization focused on advocating for tolerance. Hence there is a tremendous opportunity for this international alliance of individuals, organizations, and entities whose sole purpose is to promote tolerance and its virtues, thereby enhancing the causes of peace and security in the world.
My Ministry’s team is here to listen to you and obtain your ideas and suggestions regarding the establishment of the Global Tolerance Alliance. We have also created an icon at the Ministry’s website to receive your suggestions and recommendations. We seek your input on the following questions and encourage your feedback and suggestions:
1. How to make the Alliance feasible and implementable?
2. What would the Alliance look like in terms of membership and composition (e.g. Governments, NGOs, academic institutions, think tanks, etc.)?
3. What should it be called?
4. How would it be funded?
5. How would it be governed and structured?
6. Where should it be based and what impact would location have on mission delivery?
7. Would it benefit from formal partnership with the UN or its agencies? What about partnerships with other entities with missions that are related to tolerance and human fraternity?
8. What would its mandate, objectives and terms of reference include?
9. What would its annual program of activities and events look like?
We envision the initial set of activities of the Alliance will include the organization of global conferences to be held in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and other major world cities. The conference topics will vary but each will have Tolerance and Human Fraternity as its central, organizing theme. Participants from different nationalities, backgrounds, cultures, and experiences will get to know others by working together in workshops and discussion groups and on common projects. A system will be developed to allow all participants to keep in contact via electronic communication. Regular news releases and videos will be produced and provided to media in various countries.
I thank each of you for your interest and your support. Our upcoming journey together through the establishment of the Global Tolerance Alliance will be enriched by your ideas and commitment to improve the quality of life for our entire planet! Together, we can work to improve the human condition and to sustain the progress of society and the world. Thank you