The UAE is participating in the 36th Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie in Monaco, which groups together representatives of 88 states and governments sharing the French language.
The UAE delegation is headed by Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, and includes Ali Abdullah Al Ahmed, UAE Ambassador to France, and Yaqoub Al Hosani, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Organisations.
The UAE is participating for the first time as an associate member in the two-day conference, which began yesterday, after its membership was elevated from observer status during the Francophone Summit held last year in Yerevan, Armenia.
This elevation reflects a growing awareness of the UAE's role in promoting the values of security, peace and respect for human rights, including women's empowerment, in line with its culture of openness and tolerance, which manifested itself in the historic visit during the Year of Tolerance of Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and Dr. Ahmed El Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, who both signed the Document on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi.
During the conference, Nusseibeh praised the friendship ties between the UAE and Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
"It is an honour for me to represent the UAE for the first time at this conference as an associate member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. French is an important part of human heritage, and the UAE and France have signed an agreement to reintegrate French into its public school curriculum in 2018, in order to promote Francophone culture in the country. Cultural diversity carries the values of tolerance and multiculturalism and serves the culture of dialogue that we advocate. Today, the country hosts several French cultural institutions, as well as eight French schools and a branch of the Sorbonne University Association," he said, noting that there are 300,000 French-speaking people in the UAE.
Nusseibeh also pointed out that the UAE announced the opening of the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence, which has received so far more than 3,000 applications. He elaborated on the UAE's strategy towards women's empowerment, which aims to build the capacities of Emirati women and empower them to effectively take part in the country's sustainable development.
Nusseibeh highlighted in this regard the decision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to increase the representation of women in the Federal National Council to 50 percent.
The Minister also spoke about ongoing preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be held under the theme, "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future".
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs