The International Day for Tolerance on 16th November is an annual international observance of the ‘Declaration for Tolerance’ adopted in 1995 by member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation. It seeks to honour and promote tolerance as “respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human”
His Excellency, Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor to H.H. the UAE President and Chancellor of the UAEU expressed the nation’s pride that “tolerance in the UAE is the seed planted by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan that now bears the fruit of love and prosperity and enables our progress and leadership within the world community. It is not possible for us to consider tolerance and benevolence without recalling with great reverence the founding father who gave life to the nation. His philosophy, character, and track record of generous and selfless charitable action are the expression of his deeply rooted patriotic and humanitarian values”.
His Excellency explained that “Sheikh Zayed experienced great adversity and hardship in his formative years in the desert. These beginnings lent him wisdom and taught him the importance of forgiveness and impartiality when giving help and resources. He used these lessons in the service of his people, and the people of all Islamic and Arabic nations. He put his principles into practice and his actions were congruent with his beliefs”.
In calling attention to Sheikh Zayed’s legacy, His Excellency said that “because of Sheikh Zayed’s approach, the UAE now serves as a global epicentre of tolerance and a bridge between peoples of different cultures. The UAE fosters respect, rejects extremism, and prioritises openness and acceptance of people from all nations, religions, races, and cultures. We express, promote, and embody the moderate and humble values of Islam. We embrace intercultural dialogue, friendship and fraternity, non-interference, equality of opportunity and empowerment of women, universal education, and the rejection of violence and extremism. We aid anyone in need and distress, and promote peace, dignity, and prosperity for all humankind”.
In his message, His Excellency reminded us that “Through God’s mercy Sheikh Zayed approached life and leadership as would a loving and tender father. It is our duty to honour his legacy, using it as our way of life and passing it on to future generations. We must live and instil in our children the values of integrity, benevolence, and tolerance. We pass on our heritage, and our love for tradition by including young people in our daily dialogue, decision making circles, and community work. These are a fertile environment for communication between the generations”.
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