UAE’s humanitarian diplomacy is the path to peace

Culture of giving is a legacy of the country’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

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Published: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 11:16 PM

The UAE’s humanitarian activities have expanded over the years. The culture of giving is a legacy of the country’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and has elevated the UAE in the eyes of the world as a soft power that cares in times of need. Zayed Humanitarian Day on April 20, therefore, serves as a reminder about what this country with a big heart can achieve.

It not only is home to 200 nationalities but those who live here take a piece of the country and its charitable spirit wherever they go. Sheikh Zayed devoted his life serving the downtrodden and building a nation that became a regional force in just 50 years. The founding father believed wealth must be shared with the less privileged in countries that do not have access to basic amenities.

The UAE’s charitable credentials have been burnished over the years and the country is now seen as a humanitarian heavyweight globally.

Starting with the Abu Dhabi Development Fund in 1971, to the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable Foundation in 1992, the first president led from the front in assisting communities in need. It is he who laid the foundations of institutional giving. Communities, companies and individuals now help in the redevelopment of regions and countries destroyed by natural calamities and war.

With global warming causing droughts and extreme rainfall, the UAE’s role in shaping and rebuilding a new world has become more important in these uncertain times. The country intervenes as a peacemaker and as a builder of trust. It works with people and NGOs to ensure the dispossessed and the homeless get support when their governments fail them and leave them bereft of hope.

Indeed, the UAE’s humanitarian initiatives have given people a fresh lease of life when they felt all hope was lost. During this holy month of Ramadan, the country has embarked on a 1 billion meals campaign with the help of civil society and institutions. It has found innovative ways to raise funds for this campaign, which include selling vehicle number plates for charity.

During the peak of Covid, the UAE sent 2,154 tonnes of medical aid, ventilators, screening equipment, personal protection equipment and testing kits to 135 countries around the world. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the UAE has become the world’s third-largest donor of humanitarian aid relative to GDP.

The country is also among the top five humanitarian state donors. Sheikh Zayed’s humanitarian philosophy has become central to the country’s diplomatic efforts to make a better world for all. Military power has its limits. Diplomacy in action is what the UAE practices in pursuit of world peace. We shall call it humanitarian diplomacy.

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