UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has declared that the country will celebrate 2019 as the ‘Year of Tolerance’.
The announcement continues a government drive in recent years to set a specific theme for each calendar year.
Sheikh Khalifa said the ‘Year of Tolerance’ would be an extension of the current ‘Year of Zayed’, which celebrates the values of the country’s founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan.
It will seek to highlight the UAE’s role as a global capital for tolerance through “various legislative and policy-oriented goals” designed to instil the values of co-existence and peace, according to state news agency WAM.
“Instilling values of tolerance carries on Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and teachings,” Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed said.
The Year of Tolerance will have five main pillars with the first focusing on encouraging the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures and peoples by teaching the youth the values of tolerance.
The second pillar will seek to solidify the UAE’s position as a global capital for tolerance via series of initiatives and projects designed to encourage dialogue between cultures and civilisations.
The third pillar will involve enacting multiple programmes and contributions to build tolerant communities and the fourth on legislative and policy-oriented objectives that mandate cultural and religious tolerance via dialogue.
The fifth pillar will promote tolerance and co-existence via media initiatives and projects.
“We look forward to further contributing towards building societies that believe in the values of tolerance, cohesion and dialogue, and establishing concrete models improving tolerance and co-existence both regionally and internationally,” Sheikh Khalifa said.
“The Year of Tolerance will be celebrated as a national effort towards further advancing a decades-long dream of creating a tolerant and cohesive society, open to peoples of varying cultures and religions from around the world. The UAE and tolerance go hand-in-hand.”
Key events under the theme next year will include the visit of Catholic Pope Francis in February to promote interfaith dialogue.
The UAE introduced a law on combating discrimination and hatred in 2015 and introduced the post of minister of state for tolerance in 2016 alongside a national tolerance programme. That same year the country stood first regionally and third globally in a study issued by Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development.
UAE minister of tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan said the ‘Year of Tolerance’ placed a great responsibility on the ministry and government authorities to emphasise the importance attached to tolerance in the UAE.