UAE highlights tolerance, interfaith dialogue as key elements in fostering ‘culture of peace’ … reports Asian Lite News
During the UN High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace – which marked the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace – the UAE underscored the importance of promoting tolerance, interfaith dialogue and religious freedom in fostering a culture of peace.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, stated that a culture of peace remained vital to the work of the UN in maintaining international peace and security.
“Our commitment to the culture of peace starts at home and we believe that the UAE offers a model for what a modern, progressive, and inclusive Arab and Muslim country can achieve,” Nusseibeh said. “That model begins with tolerance, inclusion, and human development. To celebrate these values, the UAE declared 2019 to be the Year of Tolerance. As a country that is home to more than 200 nationalities, the UAE embraces cultural, religious, and racial diversity as a key component of our national values and culture.”
She recalled the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi in February 2019 and his signing of the Human Fraternity Document with the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyeb. She also highlighted the upcoming construction of the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi – consisting of a mosque, a church, and a synagogue – as well as the naming of the first chief rabbi of the UAE, which will mark the establishment of the first new Jewish community in the Arab world in centuries.
Nusseibeh underscored that these initiatives reflect the UAE’s efforts to foster harmony between religions.
She emphasised the importance of supporting other nations in fostering the culture of peace by helping them implement the sustainable development goals, SDGs. Nusseibeh noted that the more than US$5 billion that the UAE will donate in foreign assistance this year is fully aligned with the SDGs.
She also stated that gender equality and women’s empowerment are critical for every society in encouraging a culture of peace, pointing out that studies of armed conflicts show that when women are involved in peace negotiations, the resulting peace agreements are more durable and are more likely to be implemented.
In this regard, she also noted that the gender gap in diplomacy remains a serious concern and shared how the UAE is doing its part to close the gap, with women making up 30 percent of the UAE’s diplomatic corps and 27 percent of its Cabinet.
The Ambassador went on to note that the UAE is working with the UN and the international community to ensure that believers of all faiths can worship peacefully and without the fear of attack from extremists. She reiterated the UAE strong support for the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites that was announced on 12 September 2019 at the UN, as well as in its implementation.
“At a time when some countries and groups have chosen the twisted ideology of sectarianism, the UAE has embraced religious freedom and pluralism and supports voices of religious moderation and tolerance within our communities. We believe that the results speak for themselves. And we hope that next year’s Expo 2020 in Dubai will offer an excellent opportunity for the entire world to experience the UAE’s model of prosperity and inclusion,” she added.