Tolerance and Inclusivity Week at Expo 2020

Steven Mifsud holding a Sunflower Lanyard

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’, the simplest things can be significant such as welcoming and recognising the Sunflower Lanyard, an iconic symbol and identifier of disability that Direct Access has introduced to the event are all it takes. The mere fact that this action resulted in an endorsement from Her Excellency, Reem Al Hashemy (Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai) speaks volumes!

But in equal parts, grand gestures like the arts can awe-inspire and influence cultural shifts. 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 Nahyan. The 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 the 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.

A portrait photo of Steven Mifsud MBE with Her Excellency, Reem Al Hashemy.

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