International tolerance institute to be set up in Dubai

The institute will aim to promote tolerance and encourage open dialogue



An International Institute for Tolerance is set to be established in Dubai under a new law issued by the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Sheikh Mohammed has also issued decrees to establish a board of trustees for the institute and to appoint its managing director, official news agency WAM reported.

The new institute “aims to instill a spirit of tolerance in society, build a cohesive society and promote the UAE as a role model for tolerance, anti-extremism, and anti all forms of discrimination among people”, the report said.

It will promote tolerance, encourage open dialogue and highlight the peaceful essence of Islam.

Sheikh Mohammed said: “The establishment of the International Institute for Tolerance comes at a time when we are in dire need to build bridges of tolerance and solidarity between people. The institute’s doors are open to scholars and tolerance advocates, who wish to work toward establishing a culture of tolerance and openness in our societies, and against extremism, fanaticism and intellectual repression.”

The UAE has become a “safe haven for people from all over the world who can find it a place without discrimination based on religion, race, gender or colour”, he said.

“Tolerance is a fundamental value in any successful society; it is the foundation of stable and prosperous nations, and happy peoples.

“We must work together toward instilling tolerance as an essential cultural component,” he added.

The institute has the following functions and powers:

* To propose policies and legislation aimed at promoting tolerance and moderation in the society, and to submit them to the relevant authorities for implementation

* Periodically organising international conferences related to tolerance in the UAE

* Preparing and disseminating research on how to engage in partnerships with relevant cultural institutions around the world to spread the principles of harmony and intergenerational tolerance

* Organising seminars, workshops, forums and specialised training programmes aimed at promoting the spirit of tolerance and peace in the world

* Launching and encouraging initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance and coexistence among all members of society

* Supporting intellectual and cultural output that promotes tolerance in society

* Creating an environment that is conducive to social and cultural harmony and eliminating exclusionary behaviour

The new law also includes launching the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Tolerance award, which will be given across five segments – three honouring the efforts to spread the value of tolerance in philosophy, literary creativity and visual arts, and two competitions focussing on youth projects and new media initiatives.

The institute’s board will be headed by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, with the other members including Happiness minister Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Youth minister Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazroui, Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, Hamad Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Turki bin Abdullah Aldakhil, Mazen Jubran Hayek, Gerald Lawless, Ahmed Ismail Al Abbas, Sunny Varkey, and Avishesha Bhojani.

The board will oversee the work of the institute and the award. It will have the authority to adopt the institute’s general policy and strategic and development plans, to approve the institute’s programmes and initiatives, to supervise international conferences held in the country, and to adopt the statutes of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Tolerance.

Hamad Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani was appointed the managing director of the institute.

Sheikh Mohammed announced the establishment of the institute and Tolerance award in October 2016 as part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI).

The humanitarian and development institution oversees the implementation of over 1,400 development programmes and initiatives that support over 130 million people in 116 countries around the world, and works in cooperation with 280 international and regional organisations.