OPINION: Why Choosing 'Tolerance' As The Theme For 2019 Is Important For The UAE
Last week, UAE leaders announced 2019 will be the 'Year of Tolerance'.
The aim of this year's theme is to promote stability and human values for the sake of future generations. It was revealed by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and leader of Dubai on Twitter.
Choosing a theme based on values for future generations shows incredible forward planning that's unique to the UAE
2016 was the 'Year of Reading' - there were nine initiatives to promote the role of reading
2017 was the 'Year of Giving' - 16 initiatives in total
2018 was the 'Year of Zayed' - 23 initiatives in total. This was a year to mark 100 years since the birth of the country’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and to pay tribute to his role in the establishment and progress of the UAE.
Carefully chosen with initiatives running alongside, these are not 'just' themes, but mapped out yearly campaigns to promote the values of that year. Like HH Sheikh Hamdan champions Dubai Fitness Challenge, HH Sheikh Mohammed aims to develop our society further with 'the tool of civilisation empowerment'.
At a time when major powers battle race and religious issues daily
Questions over immigration in France, BREXIT in the UK, the Black Lives Matter movement in the US; as some of the world's most powerful countries struggle with racial and religious conflicts, it's important to recognise UAE rulers for choosing a theme that's so relevant. And not just to applaud the leadership but for individuals to continue to adopt fair attitudes to different beliefs, opinions and practices on a personal level.
A theme gives a purpose to the year
It's not common for a country and its residents to unite for a common goal, which is what makes UAE themes special and noteworthy.
As UAE residents, we're proud of the tolerant society we live in; 200+ nationalities, numerous religions and languages. The choice of 'tolerance' cements an already deep-rooted facet of society, it will also empower our society further and guarantee our stability as a nation. Bring it on.