Partnerships are very important to UAE: Lubna Al Qasimi

-Tells media to project true image of Arabs and rectify misperceptions

Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, said today that partnership is a very important concept for the UAE.

“A key part of the concept is the partnership with people of other nationalities who live in the country. The concept of partnership underpins the UAE’s belief in the value of peaceful coexistence and tolerance,” she said.

Speaking at the Opening Session of the second day of the 16th Arab Media Forum in Dubai, Sheikha Lubna talked about the reasons for the establishment of new ministries for tolerance and happiness.

She said the ministries were established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who believed in the importance of having an institutional framework for peace, tolerance and happiness.

Peace, Tolerance & Happiness
“We want to maintain this situation for future generations,” she said.

“In the light of the negative rhetoric we see worldwide and the self-centered language used by many countries, it’s important to see how these developments affect values, she said.

“We need to have mechanisms in place to prevent discrimination to ensure people have a safe and peaceful life here,” she said.

Talking about how the concept of tolerance is deeply embedded in the culture and heritage of the UAE people, Sheikha Lubna said: “We must never forget that the UAE is a coastal country. We were a part of major global trade routes right from the time of the Silk Road.”

This helped the people of this land learn how to work with people of other cultures to promote economic development. The 7th century Christian monastery unearthed in Bani Yas Island is an example of the acceptance that the people of this land have always had for other cultures and religions.

“This has continued to this day,” Her Excellency said. She cited the example of how in Abu Dhabi, St Andrew's Church and the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Mosque share a parking lot. “Whenever they come out after Friday prayers, they greet each other, which reinforces the fact that we have common values,” she said.

No Religion Foments Hatred
“All divine religions are based on human values, but today we are seeing these values being undermined. There is no religion that foments hatred,” she said.

Sheikha Lubna said the UAE has enacted laws aimed at taking action against people who show hatred towards others, including on social media. “We are seeing a rise in negative rhetoric and discrimination. We have to put emphasis on protecting people,” she said.

The Minister said that the Founder of the Nation the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was keen to promote peace and tolerance and help the poor and needy. Even before the establishment of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed established the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, which provided aid to countries in need.

Sheikh Zayed believed that it was important to help others using the wealth granted to us by Almighty Allah. She said the leaders of the UAE have followed in the footsteps of Sheikh Zayed, and are keen to ensure people’s happiness and prosperity.

In order to ensure sustainability, we need to put measures in place to ensure those living in the UAE enjoy prosperity. She said that it is vital for the UAE to ensure a bright future for its people.

Happy Community
Speaking about the appointment of 22-year old Shamma Al Mazrui as the UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs, she said: “It’s important to have a young minister who can speak the language of young people. Happiness is about increasing a positive outlook in the community.”

To a question on how Sheikha Lubna transitioned from her pure-engineering background to her government roles, Her Excellency said that the ultimate aim of technology is to increase the level of profitability of an organisation, and to accomplish transformation – for example automating and simplifying procedures.

Her experience in technology was useful to simplify procedures in the government organisations she worked in later. “Every stage in my life has equipped me for the next level,” she said.

Speaking about the role of media in today’s world, she said that in an environment in which “fake news” is widespread, the media has a key part to play in correcting inaccurate news.

She said the media should strive not only to project the true image of Arabs, but also to rectify misperceptions. Media in the Arab world has a great opportunity to impact young people and international media, she said.  

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