Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the UAE-Canada relationship
As Canada’s first Jewish female Ambassador to the UAE and a representative of Canada’s feminist foreign policy, I am a strong advocate of gender equality, diversity and tolerance. I welcome the opportunities that the Abraham Accords bring to both the UAE and to Israel, and see myself as uniquely positioned to be a champion for the values that underpin peace and prosperity in the region. I am delighted to share Canada’s viewpoints and commitment to support and foster opportunities for enhanced diplomacy in the region.
Further to Canada’s announcement to welcome the news of normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel in August, a discussion with the UAE Ambassador to the United States of America, Yousef Al Otaiba, was organized earlier this month by our partner, the Canada-UAE Business Council, to bring together Canadian and UAE business leaders and officials. The discussion was an opportunity to reflect on the significance of the Accords, highlighting the many opportunities for collaboration and common aspirations that the US, UAE and Canada share.
For Canada, the Accords are a reflection of a core Canadian value that we share with the UAE: that diversity and inclusion are our strength. Tolerance, inclusion and diversity were core principles of the vision of Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s Founding Father, for this country. They have been a part of the Emirati DNA since the UAE’s founding 50 years ago. Like Emiratis, Canadians believe that diversity is a driver of solutions and innovation, and an accelerator of peace and security in the world. We will work side by side with the UAE to continue to advocate for the importance of diversity and inclusion in the UAE and beyond.
We are certain that this historic development will foster people-to-people ties between the UAE and Israel, as the UAE has signalled its preference to create a “warm peace”. Normalisation will increase the opportunities for the exchange of citizens through tourism and education, which will further serve to enhance the understanding of each other’s values and cultures.
Canada has seen first-hand how welcoming the world increases tolerance and serves to build those people-to-people ties, which promote understanding. We frequently hear from international students in Canada how much they appreciate the benefits of living in a pluralistic society and how it shapes their future. We will continue to forge a common dialogue around the resilience and cohesion created in societies that put people-to-people exchanges at the centre of their approach.
The normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel may also help advance gender equality in the region. As a proud ambassador of Canada’s feminist foreign policy, I see many areas where Canada can partner with the UAE to make a difference in diplomacy, security, business, science and beyond. As our Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security stated recently, Canada and the UAE know that women play an integral role in building prosperous, peaceful and secure societies and that the future we are trying to build is not achievable without women’s full and meaningful inclusion at every decision-making table. Canada’s global leadership in the area of women, peace and security is at the heart of our feminist foreign policy and commitment to the world. Through collaboration with the UN and with other states and actors, Canada continues to strengthen partnerships with regional friends such as the UAE.
We also welcome the focus of the Strategic Agenda for the Middle East highlighted in the Abraham Accords: the expansion of trade co-operation. This presents vast new opportunities for businesses and scientific collaboration in the region and around the world. As a longstanding friend to both the UAE and Israel, Canada will build upon its strong trade partnerships between both countries in order to continue to put forward to our partners the best that Canada has to offer. With expertise in agriculture and food security, energy and clean technology, health care and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, I invite Canadian businesses to seize this moment of opening as an opportunity to diversify and expand their businesses here in the UAE and the region. I look forward to engaging with many of you in the coming months.
Expo 2020 Dubai will be an opportunity for Canada to highlight to a global audience our innovation, culture and values. In the post-Covid context, Expo 2020 Dubai has moved beyond being simply a physical destination to an occasion convening people, businesses and organisations, in-person and virtually. The addition of a virtual facet to the event will permit participation beyond the initially expected 25 million physical participants. We are excited about showcasing Canada’s best in technology and expertise. This is key to accelerating global economic recovery and building a more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future. With the future in mind, Canada is committed to creating a better future, exploring the next dimension and investing in generating solutions to common issues facing our planet.
Marcy Grossman is the Canadian ambassador to the UAE
Updated: November 24, 2020 12:05 PM