‘International Forum on Human Fraternity’ opens

ABU DHABI, 4th February, 2021 (WAM) — As part of a five-day celebration on human fraternity, Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, inaugurated on Thursday the International Forum on Human Fraternity organized by the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence in collaboration with the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity.The festival aims to support and mark the recently declared United Nations announcement of the International Day of Human Fraternity. His Excellency delivered the keynote address during the opening session of the forum which was launched virtually and attended by 1900 international officials, experts and academics from the UAE, the Arab world and globally, all who are avid supporters of matters relating to tolerance, coexistence and human fraternity.Following the keynote speech, featured speakers included Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, Muferihat Kamil, Minister of Peace, Ethiopia, María Fernanda Espinosa, President of the United Nations General Assembly for the 73rd session, Dr. Xing Qu, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Judge Mohamed Abdel-Salam, the Secretary General of the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity.Topics discussed explored the principles of the Document on Human Fraternity and ways to consolidate such principles through joint living and work for world peace, in addition to how human fraternity and global joint action contributes to a shared better future. Etisalat is participating in this major global event as a main sponsor for all sessions of the forum.Sheikh Nahayan confirmed in his keynote address that the International Forum on Human Fraternity organized by the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity in cooperation with the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence in the UAE, marks a celebration of the International Day of Human Fraternity by the UAE, including all its institutions, sectors, leaders, and all people who reside and work on this land of harmony and coexistence. His Excellency confirmed that this forum is based on the vision of His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence Grand Imam Ahmed Al Tayeb as expressed in the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity. This forum is also a celebration of the sincere efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E Armed Forces to convey the nation’s message of tolerance, human fraternity, and moral values to the entire world.He explained that the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity is an open invitation for everyone to commit themselves, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace, putting an end to wars, environmental decay and moral and cultural decline . The Declaration emphasizes that tolerance promotes the qualities and experiences that unite, rather than divide, all peoples, and enables a shared stake in public wellbeing and happiness irrespective of cultural, ethnic, and religious differences, so that peoples from around the world share a common humanity and everyone will know that intolerance leads to division between peoples.Sheikh Nahayan noted that the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity is a testament to the fact that the United Arab Emirates is one of the most peaceful and prosperous places on earth, as residents from many different religions, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, from some 200 different nations, live and work together here in peace, harmony, and prosperity. He emphasized that this expresses the UAE’s belief in respecting everyone regardless of their differences or beliefs, and reflects that the true spirit of the United Arab Emirates which has always been blessed by leaders of wisdom and vision, beginning with the nation’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Sheikh Zayed was an extraordinary leader who embodied naturally human values of compassion and care and was open to the entire world. Sheikh Zayed was committed to the values of compass, on, empathy dialogue, human fraternity, peaceful coexistence and equality for all. Sheikh Zayed believed absolutely that recognition and appreciation of others, and the ability to live together with, and listen to others, would provide a sound foundation for a civil, peaceful, and prosperous country.He added that we are blessed that our country’s commitment to these human values and principles has continued under the wise leadership of His Highness the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is strongly supported by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E Armed Forces, as well as by all other UAE’s leaders.He said said, As we continue to go through this pandemic, the importance of Human Fraternity looms larger than ever as a global principle that is essential to safely and successfully navigating this global crisis. Years from now, when we reflect on this time, I am hopeful that we will see that it was human fraternity that sustained us, provided us with the energy, dedication, and resolve to persevere and to succeed. In the spirit of human fraternity, I call on all of you to work together to promote the inclusion of all regions of the world in the progress of humanity. I call on you to work together to eradicate religious and cultural misunderstandings. I call on this forum to help make human fraternity as an area of innovation and initiative and a cause for joint action and effective participation of all for the benefit of all. I call on you to join with us in the United Arab Emirates in demonstrating that pluralism within diverse human societies is a positive and creative force for development and stability everywhere. We look forward to our working together to emphasize our strong common belief in the power of human fraternity to shape our future and to help solve many of the world’s great global challenges. Together, we will take up the banner of peace and preservation of human progress in our local and global communities. Sheikh Nahayan added that no nation, no society, could ever convert everyone to a single religious belief. The best we can do and it is very good is to vie with one another in virtue. In the Qur’an, God tells all human beings: O people! We have created you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. In the United Arab Emirates, we are committed to responding to that command to know one another. Our attitude toward the world’s various religious faiths constitutes a key element in the vision of the United Arab Emirates. Our vision is a global vision because our country is home to a global society. We want our global community to prosper and to have peace and harmony.Dr. Xing Qu, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General expressed during his speech to the Global Human Fraternity Forum that he takes pride in his participation in this forum to speak in this international summit for human fraternity, confirming that this event comes at just the right time as is the case in terms of its importance because humanity today is standing at a crossroads given its history on this planet. The challenges are many and are not limited to the sad global loss of life due to COVID-19 which has topped 2 million so far, but it reveals the weaknesses of our societies and the intensification of structural variances among nations and peoples. At the height of the epidemic, 91% of students around the world, or 1.5 billion learners, were unable to go to school and 11 million girls may never return to school, as well as economic, social and sexual inequalities have escalated, and women, who are often employed in unstable or informal sectors, bear the consequences of the economic crisis. Discrimination and racism are on the upswing, fueling hate speech against cultural and religious communities.Dr. Xing Qu warned that extremism and violence undermine the culture of coexistence through misinterpretations of facts and doctrines. This is further compounded by the challenges of climate change which threatens the present and future of our planet. In facing these challenges, the world has two possible paths, the first is a treacherous path leading to fear and division, and the second is a path of hope and human fraternity, and such choices cannot be made unilaterally but must be navigated as a holistic approach leading to great possibilities. For all those reasons, this forum on human fraternity is considered ever more prevalent.He added, Since a year ago, we took a step in the right direction for world peace and for living together in harmony, and from that point onward we witnessed the value of the Document on Human Fraternity, which reminds us of the importance of dialogue and mutual understanding to reduce economic, social, political and environmental problems.UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General noted that the document promotes a culture of peace in a manner that reflects the true spirit of the document. It portrays a path to a harmonious lifestyle, which undoubtedly, is the main theme that lies at the heart of UNESCO mission, where UNESCO’s initiatives and work is mainly based on the conviction that peace must be attained by promoting dialogue and strengthening fraternity. There are many initiatives undertaken by UNESCO worldwide, through which we can notice how cooperation and solidarity demonstrate the best of human creativity, allowing everyone to participate in solving common problems.UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General declared that humanity is standing at a crossroads and we have to choose our path, and in this regard, the convictions that guide our actions are navigated by our inner compass. I believe that in promoting the core values that we share- respect, fraternity and tolerance- we will shape our path towards a more peaceful and sustainable world, and as UNESCO brings people and nations worldwide together, dialogue and fraternity shall be fostered everywhere. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, expressed during his speech at the International Forum on Human Fraternity that he takes pride in his participation in this important forum hosted by the UAE, and organized by the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, stressing that the human conscience is originally based on principles of ethics and good relations among human beings, establishing the very values of tolerance and instilling a spirit of peaceful coexistence among people. The rulers of our countries in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the UAE and the Arabian Gulf are always the most wonderful examples of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and their historical efforts have fostered a sustained approach to maintaining a quality of life that is anchored in human values, – wishing well for others , has always been a trait that embraces the truest meaning of human fraternity.He added, Bahrain like its sister, the UAE, focuses on the concerns of humanity, and continues to focus its efforts on instilling the values of tolerance and fostering coexistence in a practical sense amongst different groups of society, through wise inherited policies that focus extensively on human dignity and the advancement of its citizens, residents and all people visiting our land. This is reflected by the efforts of our nations and its leaders and the consensus of our societies to preserve rights and gains made over time by resisiting all forms of racism, extremism and other forms of inhumanity. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said, The world is witnessing today the most difficult circumstances under the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, such circumstances and challenges have highlighted the importance of our political leaders’ clarity in thought bringing our societies closer by spreading the values of human fraternity in our shared communities. By providing national services and effective resources in the health, community and economic sectors, we have managed to foster and promote an all-inclusive positive environment reflective of good moral behavior, understanding, tolerance and the respect of all faiths and beliefs. During his speech to the forum, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi and a member of the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity noted that the human fraternity principles are rooted in the UAE’s culture and heritage, representing the legacy of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed. He added, The celebration of the International Day for Human Fraternity for the first time reflects our commitment to peaceful coexistence and tolerance, and that our future generations are the foundation of everything we do, where it is our responsibility to instill these values and principles in all steps and actions, so that they can continue to lead the homeland in the future with ability and fortitude.”}]

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