DUBAI, 9th March, 2022 (WAM) — Addressing participants at the 28th annual conference of the United Arab Emirates University’s (UAEU’s) College of Law, Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Adviser to the UAE President, and Chancellor of the UAEU, stressed that the UAE leadership derives its authority from consensus decision-making and conflict resolution through dialogue.
This provides citizens with a common identity, values and goals, he said.
The two-day conference is hosted in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), under the theme “Tolerance and Coexistence”. Participants include academic experts and specialists from legal institutions.
Thanking the UNHCR for their sponsorship, the chancellor told delegates that “tolerance, coexistence, and social inclusion have long defined the UAE’s strategy, ethos, and values. It is our great fortune to have had Sheikh Zayed at the helm from the early beginnings. Essentially humanitarian, his vision for the country had love for humanity and people at its core.” He then used his speech to provide a foundation for the conference’s proceedings.
First, the chancellor focused on the meaning of the ‘inclusive society’. He said, “In 1995, the World Summit for Social Development defined an inclusive society as ‘a society for all’. The United States Department of Economic and Social Affairs defines social inclusion as ‘the process of taking measures to ensure that everyone can achieve their full potential in life.’”
He also noted that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals recognise the fact that an inclusive society is critical to societal sustainability. An inclusive society fosters solidarity, peace, justice, and security. Its institutions are effective and accountable. It contains diverse social groups that are recognised, legitimate, and have a strong sense of belonging and participation. The inclusive society is resilient and cohesive, and therefore sustainable.
Second, the chancellor placed social inclusion in the context of the UAE. He said, “In the UAE the concept of ‘tolerance’ is in many respects a metaphor for social inclusion and tolerance is a clear emphasis of national strategy. For example, in 2016, the UAE government launched the world’s first ‘Tolerance Charter’ and established a Minister for Tolerance and Coexistence. It made 2019 the Year of Tolerance. The principles of tolerance that we pursue derive from the conditions of our creation, birth and survival. The fact of life depends on solidarity and integration, including rights and duties. It assumes our unity as human beings in facing the requirements of life and the necessities of survival.”
The chancellor said that by working together Sheikh Zayed and his people overcame the formidable challenges of turbulent beginnings. They created the infrastructure necessary to maximise human potential. They ensured that the UAE became what it is today – a stable and peaceful nation that is a guiding light in a region riven by violence and conflict.
Speaking of the present context, he said, “Today the UAE continues to use compassion, civilisation, partnerships, and tolerance as the building blocks of social and economic development. We are pragmatic and solution-oriented, seeking stability and security for all. We believe it is in diversity that we find our greatest strength. We know that when we want to solve complex problems, we are more likely to find solutions if we build the most diverse teams – people from different disciplines, different parts of the world, different genders, different cultures, politics, and religions.”
The chancellor then spoke about the UAE’s future course. He said, “The leadership set out 10 principles to guide national development for the next fifty years. These principles continue the legacy of Sheikh Zayed. The two primary principles are to strengthen the union of the UAE and to foster a vibrant, dynamic economy. Three further principles identify the tools we must use: we will develop human capital, we will expand the frontiers of our digital, technical, and scientific excellence, and we will continue a foreign policy based on multilateral cooperation. The remaining five principles present an ethical framework to guide the use of these tools. They ask us to practice the principles of good-neighbourliness, openness and tolerance, and humanitarian aid. They instruct us to advocate for peace and harmony and to use negotiation and dialogue as the means to conflict resolution.
Third, the chancellor spoke of the importance of social inclusion in the global context. He said, “Whole regions suffer conflict, violence, division, and distrust. Wherever we look we see poverty of some kind: lack of education, food, security, energy, health, governance, or infrastructure. We know we are losing our vibrant ecological ecosystems and we sense political, social, and economic disruption everywhere. This global experience demonstrates the extent to which social inclusion strategies and policies are more vital and urgent than ever.”
In conclusion, he said, “It is to my delight, therefore, that the Dubai Expo 2020 is the venue for your important event. Your coming together to address the vital questions of tolerance, coexistence, and social inclusion is an example of the international collaboration needed to resolve today’s global challenges. It is also an example of the mutuality and dialogue that the UAE has always sought to promote.”