A festival to celebrate the country’s culture of tolerance, harmony and coexistence among the dozens of nationalities living together was launched in the UAE.
The inaugural National Festival of Tolerance kicked off on Friday with the Walk of Tolerance in Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, led hundreds of people of all backgrounds, including those with disabilities, in a show of solidarity.
The 2km Walk Unified event, an initiative held by the Local Organising Committee of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, will return every month in Umm Al Emarat Park in the run up to the games in March.
It was the first of more than 100 events planned as part of the festival, which is designed to promote the Ministry of Tolerance’s mission of raising public awareness about acceptance and understanding.
"The main aim of this programme is to encourage and qualify all categories and individuals of our community to utilise their potential in spreading the values of tolerance, respect, coexistence and harmony among all UAE citizens and residents to achieve happiness and prosperity for all," said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance.
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To be held until November 16, the festival will include events such as the Tolerance Cricket Championship, children’s literature workshops and the Tolerance Research Forum for academics and university researchers.
"It is also an initiative of recognition towards our visionary leaders who have managed to build the UAE as a role model for tolerance and peaceful coexistence that gains the respect and appreciation of the whole world,” said Sheikh Nahyan.
“That shows the UAE’s determination to continuously seek ways to open dialogues and spread the culture of peace and coexistence in all sectors.”
Sheikh Nahyan said everyone is responsible for fostering the spirit of tolerance across the UAE.
“Such success achieved by the Ministry of Tolerance would not be possible without the support of all the entities and segments of society," he said.
The festival is being held under the theme 'On Zayed’s Approach' in honour of the efforts of the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed, to encourage social cohesion and instill the values of tolerance, respect, coexistence and harmony among all Emiratis.
"The UAE’s visionary and prudent leadership has successfully managed to establish such levels of tolerance, coexistence, stability and prosperity that we enjoy today in the UAE," said Sheikh Nahyan.
"We are organising the National Tolerance Festival under the theme 'On Zayed’s Approach' as a symbol of appreciation to our leaders for their confidence in the ministry to achieve its duties and responsibilities in the serving society in our beloved country."