His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE Assistant Minister of Cultural Affairs was the guest of the US-UAE Business Council for an online conversation.
During the event, HE Ghobash highlighted the importance of cultural diplomacy, religious tolerance, and mutual understanding in realizing the full potential of the Abraham Accords during a US-UAE Business Council webinar on September 16th 2020. This videoconference was part of the Business Council’s “Back to Business” webinar series.
Ambassador Ghobash, a member of the official U.A.E. delegation that signed the Abraham Accords, expounded on the possible cultural outgrowths of the normalisation of ties between the U.A.E. and Israel – including cultural and student exchange programs. He emphasized the U.A.E.’s strong attachment to religious tolerance – rooted in the philosophy of the U.A.E.’s Founding Father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan – and noted that welcoming people of all faiths is one of the country’s cardinal values, as also demonstrated by the U.A.E.’s welcoming of Pope Francis and construction of the Abrahamic Family House.
Reflecting on the meaning of the agreement, Ambassador Ghobash said, “A move towards peace with Israel is something that is very much in accordance with the moral and ethical DNA of the Emirates, going back to the Founders of the Emirates, particularly to the Founder Sheikh Zayed. For me, as an Emirati who was born in the year of the Union, 1971, it was an opportunity to see the values of the Founder translated into the 21st century and into global politics and to know that his spirit lives on in the conduct of his children, his sons, and the people of the Emirates. It was a very, very moving moment yesterday.”
A former U.A.E. Ambassador to both Russia and France, Ambassador Ghobash also shared his insights on what motivated the agreement and what might come next for the region.
Following his remarks, His Excellency heard questions from member and partner organisations of the Business Council in a question & answer session moderated by Mr. Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council.