It’s the start of Tolerance and Inclusivity week at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Direct Access team could not be more pleased with the efforts being made by the event’s key organisers to promote inclusivity and equality across the interlocking characteristics of gender, race, disability, religion, and culture. While our team is on the ground ensuring the event is tolerant and inclusive of disabilities for People of Determination (disabled people) present, it’s in equal parts wonderful to witness the promotion of our firm’s key philosophy in arts and cultural events which are being staged by Expo daily.

Of course, inclusion does not always mean there needs to be ‘grand gestures’, Sometimes the simplest things can be significant such as welcoming and recognising the Sunflower Lanyard, an iconic symbol and identifier of disability which Direct Access has introduced to the event are all it takes. But in equal parts, grand gestures like the arts can awe inspire and influence cultural shifts as a result. An example of this is that to mark International Day for Tolerance on November 16th, the all-female Firdaus Orchestra returns to the Jubilee Stage at 7pm. The event will feature melding Middle Eastern influences with music taken from world cinema and TV, including Cinema Paradiso, Bombay Theme, Slumdog Millionaire, and Maula Ya Salli, as well as featuring a children’s choir from GEMS Legacy School.

November 16th will also see collaborations between the USA Pavilion, the US Mission to the UAE, and the Israel Pavilion in which the documentary film “Amen-Amen-Amen” will be screened. The plot of which concerns the journey of a Torah scroll made in honour of the UAE’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al NahyanThe film will also boast landmark moments in history in the UAE’s approach to religious diversification, including Pope Francis’s visit to Abu Dhabi in February 2019. The film will be screened at 6 pm in Al Forsan Park.

Other films brought to Expo by participating countries include Cuando Cierro Los Ojos (When I Shut My Eyes), a Mexican piece in which two voices express the need to fight against exclusion, and will be screened at the Terra Auditorium at 2 pm on November 15th.

The Jubilee stage will feature on that same day at 8 pm, the Canadian Indigenous Groups Showcase. This event will invite the audience to a cavalcade of multi-cultural art including an extravaganza of music, traditional dance, and poems featuring world artists from nations such as Panama, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Radiodervishin conjunction with the Arab Orchestra of Nazareth, invites music lovers to the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre at 7pm on November 17th to enjoy an evening of Western and Middle Eastern culture to showcase the artistic and religious coexistence of two worlds.

Celebrating the creativity and strength of youths of different cultures, Expo will host a variety of events for this demographic. This will include a youth forum highlighting the creativity of young people from different backgrounds and the launch of the Global Tolerance Alliance. This UAE initiative will promote ideas of tolerance and peaceful coexistence as an integral part of people’s lives.  This will coincide with UNESCO’s International Day of Tolerance on November 16th.

Sheikh Nahayan will unveil the alliance at 11:16 am at a closed-door event taking place at the Italy Pavilion. The unveiling will also be streamed live as part of the Tolerance and Inclusivity Business Forum, co-curated with Estonia and held at Expo’s Dubai Exhibition Centre, which will focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Innovation in architecture is a key component of Expo in which Direct Access had a direct hand, and we are particularly excited for the “Designing for All” session, which opened just yesterday. This event will be a discussion of how we can build inclusive environments in the workplace for staff and patrons that show the individual requirements and experiences of people of a variety of backgrounds, with a particular emphasis on disabled people (People of Determination).

On November 17th, the Women’s World Majlis at the Women’s Pavilion will focus on the theme of Gender inclusion and highlight how the UAE established a Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence to boost recognition and respect for women in the workplace, with a discussion of how this is particularly important in times of recovery, post-crisis.

After a week of events focusing on multiculturalism, diversity, and disability inclusion,  Tolerance & Inclusivity Week will close with an intimate conversation between two of the UAE’s leading cultural and public diplomats: Dr. Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Cultural Adviser to the President His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Chancellor of UAE University, and Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth. It will be held at the UAE Pavilion and offer an all-encompassing retrospective review of the UAE’s experience of inclusivity, culture, and education.

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