We live in challenging times. Drawn by an array of new and unprecedented challenges, the politics of fear have returned to the global stage. This has provided an opening for extremists and populists of all stripes to peddle their hateful wars, stoking sectarianism, bigotry, and intolerance. As a result, societies and communities around the world are growing increasingly divided, as old social fissures re-emerge in an often violent way. Nowhere is this more the case than in our region. To stem the tide of fear and hatred, the international community needs to focus on promoting tolerance and unity.
In these difficult times, it is imperative that we all work together in order to promote the tolerance of other peoples' religion, gender, race, heritage, and cultures, and strengthen resilience against extremism, hatred, and division. We must focus on accepting, embracing, and overcoming our differences to cultivate compassion, tolerance, and moderation within our communities.
The UAE places great emphasis on these values, which are vital foundations of our thriving, prosperous, and peaceful society. The UAE, from its very establishment, has strived to build an open and tolerant society and is proud of the immense diversity of its residents. With residents from over 200 countries, the UAE is a true multicultural melting pot, and a model of what can be achieved through openness and tolerance.
The tolerance and acceptance demonstrated and promoted by the UAE, and embodied in the recently announced National Tolerance Program, is underpinned by the teachings of Islam, the values and traditions of Emirati society, and the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed. It is also embedded in the UAE Constitution, which ensures that people, no matter their gender, race or background, are equal before the law, and enjoys the rights and freedoms provided by international treaties and conventions.
The UAE continues to implement programs and initiatives to further embed a culture of tolerance and strengthen resilience against extremism. The UAE will soon launch the world's first Charter of Tolerance, and we have already established the Council of Tolerance, which reviews and approves initiatives and events that promote tolerance. Other initiatives include a Tolerance Centre, which conducts research on tolerance and best practices, and a Tolerance Responsibility Programme for Organisations. Furthermore, the UAE recently implemented the National Strategy for Reading in acknowledgment of the crucial role that reading has in creating an educated, open, and tolerant society.
A key element of the UAE's approach has been the promotion of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue. The UAE is proud of its Muslim heritage, and of how Islam teaches that tolerance is at the center of what defines faith. As such, the UAE houses temples for those of Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths, hosts Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelic churches, and regularly meets and cooperates with leaders of other religions. Such religious tolerance stretches far into our history, with Christians having worshiped at a monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island as long ago as the 7th century.
But for the UAE, promoting tolerance and coexistence is not only a domestic matter; it is also at the very core of what we have set out to achieve in our engagement with the region and the international community. The UAE believes that in order to enable our region to thrive and develop, we need to foster the same values of tolerance and moderation that have underpinned the UAE's success story. As a result, the UAE is dedicated to encouraging tolerance regionally and globally.
To this end, the UAE has established the Council of Muslim Elders, which aims to promote peace in the Muslim World, build bridges between religions and cultures and combat extremist ideologies. Additionally, the UAE hosts Hedayah, the international center of excellence for countering violent extremism, and the Saab Center, which utilizes the power of social media to combat online extremist propaganda. In the future, the UAE will launch the International Institute for Tolerance, the first of its kind in the Arab world, which will publish studies on tolerance, provide support for experts in the field, and contribute to developing educational systems.
The UAE is also actively involved in with a number of multilateral institutions and international partnerships that contribute to our shared aim of fostering tolerance, including, amongst others, hosting an office of UN Women in Abu Dhabi.
As a global economic, social, and political hub, the UAE plays an important role by demonstrating that tolerance and peaceful coexistence in our region are not only possible, but vital for creating happy, stable, and prosperous societies. The UAE will continue to promote the empowerment of women, religious tolerance, and interfaith dialogue, and encourage a culture of openness and acceptance in order to stabilize our region and help see it flourish. These values have underpinned the UAE's national development, and are at the heart of our moderate foreign policy.
I hope that today, on International Tolerance Day, we all reflect upon what we can do as individuals, companies and nations, to contribute to cultivating tolerance and rejecting hatred, so that we may build a more moderate, stable and peaceful world.