Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said tolerance is a key Emarati value that the Arab world must fully embrace.
DUBAI // A global initiative to encourage tolerance and honour champions of tolerance throughout the world was launched yesterday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Tolerance will lay the base for developing tolerant young Arab leaders and support intellectual, cultural and media promotion of values that reflect tolerance and openness.
Sheikh Mohammed also announced the establishment of the International Institute for Tolerance, which will be the first of its kind in the Arab world .
It will offer advice and expert views on policies to promote values of tolerance among nations, publish studies and research reports and work with relevant authorities to instil the principles of acceptance in youths.
The institute will also release studies on the root causes of fundamentalism, seclusion and sectarianism.
It will provide support to Arab and international experts and specialists in tolerance, and contribute to developing educational systems, state news agency Wam reported.
Sheikh Mohammed ordered the creation of the institute to provide a healthy environment in which youths could excel and to deepen awareness of tolerance.
It will also aim to nurture young people talented in understanding tolerance, community service and countering extremism.
"The UAE has established itself as a global role model for tolerance," said Sheikh Mohammed. "We cherish tolerance as a key value yet we intend to transform that value into sustainable institutional work that will reflect positively on our peoples in the Arab world."
Sheikh Mohammed said tolerance was the foundation for stable communities and sustainable development. "Our Arab societies need to be prepared intellectually to embed the culture of tolerance, openness and peaceful coexistence," he said.
The award is the latest to join the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, a charitable foundation that will reach more than 130 million people in the next 10 years and focus on development and relief across the Arab world and beyond.
The 30-plus entities that fall under the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives’ umbrella will unite in their efforts to achieve these goals.
Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, described the tolerance award as a practical response by Sheikh Mohammed to the tension in the region being fuelled by problems that included extremism and sectarianism.
He said those problems were contrary to the prevailing tolerance witnessed during the rise of Islamic and Arab civilisations.
The award is divided into five categories, three of which will be dedicated to honouring champions of tolerance in human thought, literary creativity and the arts.
The other two will focus on youth projects and new media.
Mariam Al Hammadi, the supervisor for student affairs at the Emirates College for Advanced Education, said Sheikh Mohammed’s launch of the award and the institute for tolerance was timely.
"We need these kinds of initiatives to teach our kids tolerance is the key to being happy," Ms Al Hammadi said.
"We need to teach our kids in schools, in college, even in the earlier ages. They need to understand there is no discrimination and we live in a tolerant world.
"His Highness every day comes up with something distinguished, something creative, something innovative.
"If our leader is thinking like this, what about us? At the end of the day, if the Government is supporting these kinds of values, we need to let the youth understand this is so important in our lives."
Dubai business owner Adel Galadari said such programmes were "always for the good of the people and the community".
"Our leaders are always looking for initiatives that help the country and help raise awareness," said the Emirati. "Dubai is always looking for challenges and changes they can put in place to improve the country."