Are we tolerant in our everyday lives? Something we can all think about on the occasion of International Day for Tolerance on November 16. It’s the annual observance day declared by UNESCO that aims to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.
But what exactly is tolerance and how does it manifest in society? Tolerance can be defined as the ability or willingness of a person or group to accept the existence of opinions or behavior that are different from their own. Therefore, practicing tolerance is paramount since we see cultural, religious, and political differences all around us, particularly as the world becomes increasingly multicultural and cosmopolitan.
Taking the spirit of the day another step forward, we should also emphasize the importance of celebrating the very thing that requires us to be tolerant: our diversity. A wonderful example of a country that embodies this practice is the UAE, a multicultural society that thrives on the diversity of its residents that hail from over 200 countries. Over the past decades, the Emirates has become a beacon of multi-ethnicity, where work, school, and social activities combine people of many nationalities and faiths harmoniously. It provides the world with an example of how tolerant and welcoming it is possible to be.
Earlier this year at the UN Security Council, the UAE promoted the importance of embracing peaceful co-existence and tolerance in order to advance societies enriched by diversity and peace and outlined its initiatives aimed at consolidating the foundations of coexistence, tolerance, and harmony between different societies, cultures, and religions. Then, on February 4, the world marked the first International Day of Human Fraternity, an UAE initiative at the UN to help spread awareness of the importance of embodying the spirit of unity and solidarity among peoples.
The UAE may be a pioneer in celebrating diversity, but we can all play our part. Indeed, the actions of individuals are what dictates the state of a society. So, let’s keep that in mind this International Day of Tolerance and celebrate our differences.