River Publishers Series in Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Paths to a Culture of Tolerance and Peace

Basma EL Zein, University of Business and Technology, Saudi Arabia
Ahmed Al Jarwan, Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, Malta

We are living today in a multicultural world, surrounded by people from different backgrounds, cultures and religions. Establishing tolerance and peace has become crucial. Without these qualities, social stability and communal harmony are threatened; and acceptance of each other remains elusive. Spreading a culture of tolerance and peace is necessary to address contemporary issues of world peace, this includes reflection on the importance of refusing violence and adopting a more peaceful means for resolving disagreements and conflicts. This book, written by the world's foremost thinkers in this area, aims to increase feelings of openness and respect toward others, solidarity and sharing based on a sense of security in one's own identity and a capacity to recognize the many dimensions of being human in different cultural and social contexts.

Topics discussed in the book include:
  • Promoting Tolerance and Peace
  • Teaching Tolerance and Peace
  • Human Values
  • Intercultural / Interreligious dialogue
  • Human Fraternity document
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Interview with Ahmed Al Jarwan, president of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace.

The following discussion with His Excellency Ahmed Al Jarwan, follows on from our video interview and covers his role at the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, the impact that Covid 19 has had in the last year, and the council's future publication efforts.

Can you please start telling us a bit about yourself and your role as the Chairman of the Constituent Council of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace?

I am Ahmed Al Jarwan, from the United Arab of Emirates, the president and the founder of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace. I am also the president of the Arab Experts Union. I have more than 40 years of experience in the field of Tolerance and Peace. I was the president of the Arab Parliament for two rounds consecutively and member of the Federal National Council since 2011. In addition to that I have a long experience in the diplomacy field.

In 2017, believing in the need to spread the values of Tolerance and Peace and to fight conflict, discrimination, violence, war, terrorism, and extremism, I established, with eight other prominent people from all over the world, the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace. The Council has many objectives such as:

  • Promote and instil the value of tolerance
  • Develop the rules of international law to suit the needs of the international community.
  • Strengthen international peace and security.
  • Combat all forms of discrimination, racism, and intolerance
  • Encourage initiatives that provide a decent life for all
  • Promote a culture of respect for human rights and freedom
  • Increase ways of sustainable development and humanitarian assistance to developing nations

It is good to mention that the council has two main organs: the International Parliament for Tolerance and Peace, which is composed of more than 70 parliamentary members from more than 70 countries from all over the world, and the General Assembly for Tolerance and Peace, which is composed of more than 50 Universities, NGOs Peace builders, and tolerance advocates.

How did this book come about and what was the motivation behind it?

Education, one of the main pillars of Tolerance and Peace, should continuously be worked upon through development of quality specialized program at all levels. These programs and activities should be designed to meet the society needs from economic, cultural and community engagement perspectives. We should respond to the challenges multi-cultural present, such as violence, terrorism, aggressive nationalism, racism, exclusion, marginalization, and discrimination, by preparing changemakers, leaders, entrepreneurs, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and decision makers. The book was developed to inspire and drive people, it is one of the means of spreading the values of Tolerance and Peace. The book was one of the recommendations of the first Academic conference “Academic trends in higher education for Tolerance” organized by the council in collaboration with the university of Malta and was under the patronage of the President of Malta, H.E. Dr. George Vella.

In your book you talk about the signature of the Human Fraternity document in February 2019 (between His Holiness Pope Francis and The Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb). Would you please talk a little about that and the significance of it?

A new milestone in the history of mankind has been achieved on the 4th of February 2019, the day where the Human Fraternity document has been released and signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the land of Tolerance. The document was for World Peace and Living Together, where They called everyone to help in educating new generations to bring goodness and peace to others. It is a message to all of us, inviting us to promote, evolve, act, cooperate, and endure towards a happier, stable, and peaceful world. Taking in consideration the level of poverty, conflict, suffering of human beings, and distancing from our religious values – along with the feelings of frustration, isolation, desperation, injustice, lack of equitable distribution of natural resources, extremism, and many other issues that have been clearly mentioned in the Human Fraternity documents – we should not keep silent. We should unite and act to resolve all these issues, through dialogue, cooperation, good education system, and the empowerment, protection, and support of women, children, elderly, disabled, and oppressed people.

In the last year Covid 19 has disrupted everything, touching not just one country but people all over the world. What are your thoughts on how as a world we've come together during this time, or how we could do better?

COVID-19, the most disruptive event in modern history, is driving change! It is forcing us to reassess who we are and what we value. It is teaching us many lessons and offering us opportunities to change, improve and evolve. The Global Council for Tolerance and Peace as an international platform to spread the values of tolerance and peace in the world has responded promptly to the COVID-19 pandemic and served the world in different ways. We have formed a COVID-19 task force within the International Parliament for Tolerance and Peace composed of 5 members to :
  • Work closely with the other members to propose, and develop creative ideas to fight the virus to be applied in their own country
  • Work closely with the appropriate community, governmental and non-governmental entities in their own country
  • Represent the council in their own country in any issue related to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Implement the proposed ideas in their own country and report the feedback
  • Transfer the real image of the current status in their own country related to the coronavirus to the taskforce
  • Work within the framework and guidelines of the GCTP & WHO
  • Distribute the awareness materials in their own country by different means.

We have also offered as supporting gesture thousands of Personal Protection equipment (PPE) such as Surgical masks, KN95 masks, Body Protection suites and robes, Disinfectant units, and UV disinfectant machines to around 20 countries.

What we are facing today is a common enemy; it is a shared threat, that does not distinguish between reds and blues. So, it is the time to begin to promote more constructive patterns in our cultural and political discourse. The time for change is clearly ripening, to reorient politics, to make substantial new investments in public goods–for health, especially–and public services, to empower women, encourage scientific researchers, and to promote more values of tolerance and peace in our culture. This virus is forcing us to reconsider who we are and what we value, and it will help us rediscover the better version of ourselves for a peaceful and stable world. So, it is driving change, as it revealed the flaws in our health care system, our research and academic system, our governance system, our safety system, and our human relationships. We should rethink the use of technology to serve us more efficiently and effectively to facilitate our life using virtual reality, augmented reality, telemedicine, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. I invite everyone to appreciate and support medicine, science, scientific research, and human values, to encourage people to contribute to their economy and society, to join efforts to fight this common enemy with faith, solidarity, tolerance, wisdom, and our human values. This is actually the right time to have more tolerance advocators and peace builders.

This is the first full book you have written on this subject. How does the council plan to continue their efforts in bringing experts, from NGOs etc, around the world together to promote tolerance and peace through print and online media?

The book is just the start, we will continue through different projects and programs in paving the way for a world of Tolerance and Peace.

I would like to announce that we have also finished the development of a master Program “Master of arts in Tolerance Studies and Global Peace” that will be adapted in different universities all over the world. We are starting also the development of the Doctoral Program in Tolerance Studies and Global Peace. We are also working with different academic institutions to support scientific chairs for Tolerance and Peace.

Our mission in the council is to work on spreading the culture of tolerance and peace.in order to address the issues of contemporary world peace, through our two components; the International Parliament for Tolerance and Peace (IPTP) and the General Assembly for Tolerance and Peace.

International parliament of Tolerance and Peace, the representative body of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, addresses women and youth, international relations, international law, promoting peace and sustainable development issues. IPTP has held many sessions where the members tackled our current issues, and worked on proposing solutions by declaring statements, charters, and setting action plans.

General assembly for Tolerance and Peace, the second main component of GCTP, is composed of regular individuals and corporations (universities, NGOs, Research Centers) from all around the world who are interested in or have contributed to tolerance and peace and who have a fingerprint in promoting tolerance and world peace through research and constructive projects.