UAE is home to over 200 nationalities

HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ruler of the UAE, announced on Saturday that 2019 will officially be the Year of Tolerance. This year will be an extension of the Year of Zayed in 2018, as it upholds the values of tolerance and co-existence that the late leader Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan worked to instill in the people of UAE.


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In 2016, the UAE made history by becoming the only country to establish a Ministry of Tolerance. HE Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi was the first Minister of State for Tolerance, but in 2017 after cabinet reshuffle the role went to HE Shaikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, took to Twitter to voice his support, tweeting “Dear brothers and sisters, the President… has issued a directive to announce 2019 as the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, with the aim of solidifying the international role that the country plays as the capital of co-existence and meeting of civilisations.”

The UAE is set to kickoff the New Year with a visit from Pope Francis who will hold a Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi in February, which is expected to draw in the thousands of Catholics in the UAE. This would be the Pope’s first visit to the GCC, where he will also meet with the Muslim Council of Elders at the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

In the spirit of tolerance, Emirati singer Hussain Al Jasmi became the first Arab artist to perform at the Vatican’s annual festive concert on December 15. He took to Instagram to share his experience, saying “Love and peace . The tolerance of religion and people was my message today representing my culture, my environment, my country and my Arabism, which I conveyed in my presence at the Vatican in front of Pope Francis, carrying with me the thought and vision of Zayed and the UAE, relaying it to the peoples and religions of the world”


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The Year of Tolerance will focus on five main pillars:

  • Deepening the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures and peoples by concentrating on teaching the youth the values of tolerance.
  • To solidify the UAE as the global capital for tolerance, via a series of initiatives and projects specialised in tolerance and dialogue between various cultures and civilisations.
  • Enacting multiple cultural programmes and contributions to build tolerant communities.
  • Legislative and policy-oriented objectives that contribute mandating cultural and religious tolerance, via dialogue.
  • Promoting tolerance and co-existence via targeted media initiatives and projects.

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Media: Getty, Instagram, Twitter