The American University in Dubai hosted the Year of Tolerance Forum: Bridges to Inclusivity on October 9th, 2019. The university welcomed over 100 attendees throughout the forum, including esteemed dignitaries across the public, private, and third sector.
The forum brought together educators, students, artists, professionals, and leaders from the private sector, government and non-governmental organizations to expand their understanding of various strategies and mechanisms used to build bridges between people with diverse experiences, abilities and backgrounds. The conference sessions explored how these ‘bridges’ promote collaboration, dialogue, team work, and appreciation of diversity, all of which are integral to fostering innovation, creativity, global awareness, sustainable development, inclusivity, security, gender balance, and responsive and collaborative governance.
The “Year of Tolerance Forum: Bridges to Inclusivity” opened with welcome remarks from Dr. David Schmidt, President of the American University in Dubai. He cited “One could argue that nowhere is this tolerance more evident than in this very special academic community in which you find yourself this morning students, staff and faculty representing 103 different nationalities, a multitude of ethnicities and backgrounds with countless views, ideas and dreams.”
Afterwards, Dr. Imad Hoballah, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, offered his insights on the importance of tolerance, stating that “establishing values such as tolerance, acceptance and harmony, are crucial to the success, of not only this great city, but also, to the whole world”.
Following that, Dr. Sabrina Joseph, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, welcomed the Forum’s Keynote Speaker – Ms. Mina Al-Oraibi, Editor-in-Chief of The National who highlighted the importance of tolerance in the media. She cited the nuanced considerations when giving voices to different opinions.
Panels were segmented across three core areas: Governance for Social Impact, Culture and the Arts, and Education, Youth, and Diversity. The panels were supported by a Tolerance Museum Exhibition as well as supplementary workshops.